In the 1950s, the world spread the news that the inhabitants of the Mediterranean live longer, are less likely to suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease and excess weight. Scientists have come to this conclusion after many years of research. The secret lies in a special diet, called the "Mediterranean diet".
Characteristics of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet refers to the eating style rather than the traditional diet. The inhabitants of the Mediterranean eat a lot, rarely limit themselves to fats and carbohydrates and drink wine almost every day. At the same time, experts consider the Mediterranean diet the "gold standard of nutrition". Unlike most methods, the Mediterranean slimming system has no medical contraindications. And its "permissiveness" does not allow you to free yourself in the weight loss process.
The Mediterranean diet has been recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of humanity.
The peculiarity of the Mediterranean diet is a balanced combination of proteins, fats and carbohydrates (BJU). Thanks to this, the normalization of metabolism occurs. The Mediterranean diet quickly gained popularity, because such a food system has a minimum of restrictions and is optimal for people who lead a modern lifestyle.
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet
This eating style brings maximum benefits not only for weight loss, but also for health in general. This is proved not only by reviews, but also by numerous medical studies.
- reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, Alzheimer's disease and cancer, especially of the colon and breast;
- prevents you from gaining extra pounds;
- is rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants;
- improves quality and duration of life;
- slows down the aging process;
- lowers cholesterol levels;
- has a beneficial effect on the skin.
The main condition is the absence of semi-finished products and so-called fast food (shawarma, hamburger). The menu should consist mainly of fresh and natural products. Among the musts on the table there are aromatic herbs, vegetables, olive oil, fish.
The ratio of BJU in the Mediterranean diet is at odds with many popular diets. So, the daily menu should consist of:
- 10% from proteins - seafood, eggs, cheese, meat;
- 30% from fats - fish, olive oil;
- 60% from carbohydrates: fruit, vegetables, bread, pasta, cereals.
It is important not to violate the BJU report. For breakfast, it is recommended to choose carbohydrate foods, but dinner should be protein and also include a large amount of vegetables, fresh or stewed. Bread can be eaten during the day, but it is best in the morning and only in moderation.
Meals should be fractional: it is important to eat often (5-6 times) and in small portions. This will speed up the metabolism and the body will turn food into energy and not put it in reserve.
Drink at least 6 glasses of water every day, preferably natural. Tea and coffee are allowed, but only without sugar. The use of dry red wine is allowed, no more than two glasses per day.
What you can eat with the Mediterranean diet
Fresh vegetables form the basis of the Mediterranean diet. They should be present in the diet every day. Nutritionists advise to include eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes in the menu. Beets and potatoes should be kept to a minimum as these root vegetables have a high glycemic index. Diabetics are recommended to exclude them altogether.
Complex carbohydrates - pasta, bread, rice and other grains - are central to the Mediterranean diet. It is advisable to soak the latter one day before cooking.
Red meat is rare in Mediterranean cuisine, mainly lamb.
The Mediterranean diet requires fish and seafood to be included in the diet. It is recommended to use them fresh. Both red and white fish are allowed. Preference is given to trout, salmon, mackerel, herring. These fatty varieties are abundant in omega-3s.
The Mediterranean diet involves the inclusion of dairy products in the diet, mainly cheese and yogurt. The former contain a lot of proteins. Yogurt should be natural only, without dyes.
Most Mediterranean cuisine is prepared using olive oil. Acts as the main source of fat in the diet. The menu also allows olives in different combinations and variations - as a separate dish and as a decoration for salads, pasta, cold snacks.
Olives and oil are high in healthy unsaturated fats that protect against heart and vascular disease. They also contain antioxidants to help maintain youth and beauty.
Herbs and spices are a priority in Mediterranean cuisine. They are added to almost any dish. Oregano, oregano, basil, rosemary, cumin: the choice is quite wide. In some cases, spices can replace salt.
Sample menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner
To make it easier to compose a menu for every day, nutritionists have compiled a pyramid of the Mediterranean food style, guided by which you can easily select products for a week or even a month. To follow this healthy diet exactly, it is necessary to live somewhere in the Mediterranean region. For this, there are adapted options for the Mediterranean diet, in which some products are replaced with more affordable counterparts. So, olives can be safely replaced with nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and red fish varieties - with cheaper flax seeds or mackerel and herring.
In the morning, it is recommended to lean on carbohydrates, so cereals, which can be supplemented with fruit, berries or honey, as well as pasta with sauce, stewed rice and an omelette, are a good option for breakfast. Snacks are acceptable between breakfast and lunch. For this, fruits or nuts are suitable.
For lunch, you can safely afford a soup: vegetables, fish or meat, pasta, salad. The latter should be seasoned with butter or sour cream; mayonnaise should be excluded.
The evening meal should consist of protein foods. For dinner, you can cook or boil fish, stew green beans, make poultry cutlets. A simpler option is cottage cheese and kefir.
The choice of products is quite varied, but you need to know when to stop, otherwise the Mediterranean diet will not work. Hence, the average calorie content of the daily diet should be around 1100 calories. If you don't want to calculate calories or prepare meals, you can buy special food sets based on the Mediterranean diet.