Good humor, harmony and longevity are not a gift from the gods to the inhabitants of the Mediterranean.All of this is due to the traditions of healthy eating, which does not allow you to gain much and prematurely disable the heart, blood vessels, liver and other body systems. The term "Mediterranean diet" appeared in the mid-20th century thanks to American nutritionists - wives Margaret and Ansel Keys.
Scientists tested the diet on themselves: their diet consisted of typical foods from the Mediterranean region. For two, the couple lived nearly 200 years. Margaret died at the age of 100, in Ansel - 97. In 2013, the Mediterranean diet was awarded the status of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO (no other diet has this status). It is recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the healthiest nutrition systems in the world. Next, we'll talk about the basics of the Mediterranean diet and what health benefits it brings.
The principles of the mediterranean diet
Keyes' nutritionists built a food pyramid based on the lifestyle studies of the Mediterranean peoples, which formed the basis of the Mediterranean diet.
According to the pyramid, carbohydrates constitute 60% of the diet, vegetable fats - 30%, proteins - 10%.
The basic principles of the Mediterranean diet are as follows:
- Eat every day: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole grains, whole grain breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and oil.
- eat in moderation: poultry, eggs, cheese and plain yogurt;
- eat very rarely: red meat;
- do not eat: sugary drinks, sugar, processed meats, refined grains (processed white rice).
People who follow the Mediterranean diet avoid the following foods:
- refined grains and products based on them (white bread, pasta and pasta based on premium flour);
- refined oils (in particular rapeseed and soybean oil);
- products with added refined sugar (soft drinks, sweets, cookies, etc. );
- processed meats (sausage, sausage, etc. );
- canned food.
The diet should be dominated by vegetables and fruits. It is recommended to eat fish and seafood at least twice a week. Red meat is not consumed more than once a month. Here is an example list of foods that can form the basis of your Mediterranean diet:
- Vegetables: tomatoes, zucchini, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, spinach, onion, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumber, herbs;
- Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches;
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds;
- Pulses: beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas;
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams;
- Whole grains: oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, wheat, whole grain bread and pasta
- Fish and seafood: salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, crustaceans, crabs, mussels;
- Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey;
- Eggs: chicken, quail, duck egg;
- Dairy products: cheese, Greek yogurt;
- Herbs and spices: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper;
- Healthy fats: olive oil, olives, avocados and avocado oil.
The Mediterranean diet is categorical only for sugary carbonated drinks. Water, coffee, tea - it's what can be present in your daily life.
AND . . . a glass of red wine.
This is perhaps the only controversial aspect of the diet. The inhabitants of countries in the Mediterranean region are used to dining with red wine. But official medicine still recommends not introducing this ritual into a habit. Even a small amount of alcohol increases the risk of seven types of cancer, according to the World Health Organization. Therefore, it is best to follow the "safe dose principle" with regard to alcoholic beverages.
Why do doctors follow the Mediterranean diet?
Scientists began to take an interest in the Mediterranean diet in the 1960s. Then it was noticed that in Greece, Italy and Spain and other Mediterranean countries, mortality from coronary heart disease is much lower than in the United States and northern Europe . Already in these years, studies have shown that this type of diet is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. How about today?
Healthy Weight - Healthy Liver
Scientists at the University of Wake Forest in Winston-Salem (USA) found that the Mediterranean diet does not allow you to gain weight and therefore serves as a prevention of liver disease associated with the accumulation of fat in the body. People who follow a Mediterranean diet are much less likely to have fatty liver disease (NAFLD) than those who follow a Western diet. NAFLD, in turn, is a serious risk factor for cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer. It turns out that a diet can "kill several birds with one stone": keep the heart, blood vessels, liver healthy and at the same time be thin.
Strengthens the heart, prolongs life
There are many scientific studies that specifically prove the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet in strengthening the cardiovascular system. In 2006, the results of the PREDIMED study showed that the Mediterranean diet has a beneficial effect on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. A 2013 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine states that Mediterranean people are 30% less likely to have a stroke, heart attack and death from them. An earlier study in 1999 showed that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with omega-3s helped prevent a second heart attack.
The intestines will say "thank you"
Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina (USA) have found that adherents of the Mediterranean diet have 10% more good bacteria in their intestines than those who eat Western-style. The Western diet is the exact opposite of the Mediterranean diet. It contains a lot of unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates. Another study - done by Israeli experts - showed that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of bowel cancer.
Amazing, but true: the Mediterranean diet - varied, delicious, nutritious - is also one of the healthiest diets in the world. There are no strict requirements and restrictions. There is no constant feeling of hunger. There is no feeling that you are constantly infringing on yourself in some way in the name of health. But there is pleasure and good humor. It is understandable that the Mediterranean diet has become a UNESCO cultural heritage. This is not just a phenomenon, but almost the eighth wonder of the world.