The beauty of the Mediterranean diet is that it is not a diet, but the principles of a balanced diet.As a rule, almost any diet implies severe restrictions, it is desirable to be carried out under the supervision of a physician, and has contraindications. The Mediterranean diet is suitable for everyone, including children, pregnant women and older people. Even if you are allergic or intolerant to certain foods, they are easily replaced by others. You will not be hungry and stressed. On the contrary, you will have great pleasure from food. It is not for nothing that the inhabitants of these regions have excellent health and a cheerful disposition.
The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle that allows you to be in shape, rarely get sick and prolong youth. Thinking to adjust the diet towards proper nutrition, study the principles of the Mediterranean diet.
In 2010, the Mediterranean diet received official UNESCO status as the intangible heritage of the Mediterranean countries: Greece, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Croatia, Cyprus, Portugal.
If we turn to history, we can see that in the gastronomic culture of Ancient Greece, and then of Ancient Rome, there were already all the main components of this diet. Lots of fruits and vegetables, seafood, olive oil, legumes, limited amounts of meats and sweets. That is, plant foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, high-quality protein, healthy fats and slow carbohydrates. They activate metabolism, improve digestion, strengthen all functional systems of the body, thanks to antioxidants, they slow down the aging process, increase the production of hormones of joy, promote beauty and harmony. But the most important thing is that they always allow themselves to feel good. But vegetarianism in the Mediterranean countries is not very common, while there are practically no dishes made from red meat, as well as excessively heavy ones.
Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health investigated the health effects of the Mediterranean diet and concluded that "Mediterranean dietary traditions, regular exercise and smoking cessation can prevent more than 80% of coronary heart disease, 70% of strokes and 90% of diabetes 2type ".
The term itself appeared in the 50s of the twentieth century, it was introduced by a doctor, professor at the University of Minnesota Ansel Keys. In 1945, he landed in Italy with a group of American soldiers. Observing the locals, Keys found that they were less likely to suffer from problems with the cardiovascular system, and they had a longer life expectancy than in his homeland. He suggested, and then substantiated, that this is the result of a lifestyle and nutrition system. A little earlier, in the late 1930s, the Italian nutritionist Lorenzo Piroddi first linked nutrition and susceptibility to diseases such as diabetes, obesity and bulimia, which is why he is called the "father" of the Mediterranean diet. And Ansel Keys stayed on the coast in Italy and lived to be 100 years old.
Let's list the pros of a Mediterranean diet.
Strengthens the cardiovascular system. Omega fatty acids from olive oil, nuts, seeds, certain types of vegetables and fruits keep blood vessels clean and elastic.
Prevents or treats diabetes, as the diet is dominated by foods with a low glycemic index and almost no sugar is used, which means fast carbohydrates.
Fiber-rich foods are included in every meal, they guarantee a good metabolism, help to smoothly reduce weight and maintain positive dynamics over time, improves the state of the nervous system, improves mood, and stimulates brain activity.
Many foods in the Mediterranean diet promote the synthesis of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and tryptophan, the so-called happiness hormones. This reduces the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and dementia at an older age.
Chatting with friends, long Sunday dinners with family, picnics in nature, cooking together are all part of the culture of the Mediterranean countries, which is useful to introduce into everyday life in order to minimize stress and anxiety levels and reinforce positivity.
Prolongs youthfulness and beauty thanks to flavonoids and antioxidants. They reduce the damage from the oxidative process, which worsens both internal and external condition. Selenium, manganese, zinc, vitamins A and E make the skin firm, and the hair shiny and thick.
There are practically no downsides to the Mediterranean diet.
It helps you switch to proper nutrition and improve your health. It is not seasonal, not limited in time, and implies a varied menu. Her only drawback is the inability to quickly lose weight.
However, in fact, it turns into a plus. Dramatic weight loss is often traumatic for the body: from a sharp change in regime, a tangible loss of the usual daily calorie intake, we experience stress. The body responds with poor health, a decline in strength, immunity and mood, chronic diseases are exacerbated or new ones appear if the diet is uncontrolled.
Yes, for some time the weight goes away rapidly, but the brain turns on the protection mode against possible hunger, and even from low-calorie food the body manages to store fat in reserve. Therefore, most often after the end of the diet, the weight returns, and sometimes even increases.
This will not happen with the Mediterranean diet. You won't see rapid changes, but be patient. You will notice the first results in a couple of months. You should eat five times a day in small portions - so you will not feel hunger, and the body will receive the full range of necessary nutrients. Gradually, a rational diet will restart the functional systems of the body, the metabolism will improve, and the weight will return to normal. Add physical activity, at least long walks, and the effect will be noticeable.
The list of approved products is extensive. Nutritionists have identified them in a pyramid based on (60%) sources of complex carbohydrates, high-quality fats and vegetables. The former include whole grains, durum wheat pasta, wholemeal bread, nuts and seeds, and legumes. Products of this group should be included in the menu every day.
Vegetables are presented in all variety. Look especially for leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, and vegetables with a minimum of starch like eggplant and zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli, tomatoes, peppers and fennel. The WHO recommended daily intake of vegetables - 6 servings per day - is based precisely on the amount of vegetables in the Mediterranean diet.
Previously, when there were no modern technologies for preserving vegetables, cooking was based on the principle of seasonality. Alas, in our conditions, seasonal vegetables are a short-lived pleasure. There is a solution: use frozen vegetables. Unlike imported ones, shock freezing, carried out in a matter of hours after harvesting at the peak of maturity, preserves almost all vitamins in them. In winter and spring, the freshness of vegetables is a rather arbitrary concept. Manufacturers take into account the long journey and storage, for which they treat them with chemicals.
Chickpeas, lentils, beans contain complete plant protein, a rich complex of nutrients and fiber. They saturate well and create a feeling of satiety for a long time. Combined with legume vegetables, a wide variety of balanced meals can be prepared. Thick, rich soups will keep you warm in cold weather, and salads are a great option for dinner. Try eating vegetables and legumes for dinner two to three times a week.
Jasmine rice with chickpeas, mini broccoli, mini cauliflower and truffle oil
- Chickpeas (chickpeas) Bonduelle 1 can (310 g).
- Mini broccoli Bonduelle 1 pack (300 g).
- Cauliflower mini Bonduelle 1 pack (300 g).
- Jasmine rice 200 g.
- Basil 40 g.
- Curry 1 tsp
- Olive oil 20 ml.
- Salt to taste.
- Cook the rice according to the instructions. Add curry, stir.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet and lightly sauté the cabbage and broccoli.
- Combine cabbage, chickpeas and rice, stir. Salt if necessary. Garnish with basil leaves before serving.
Pasta is not bad if it is made from durum flour: it is low in calories, it has a rich vitamin and mineral composition, and it is easily digestible. In addition, pasta, like cereals, is one of the main sources of B vitamins. Pasta made from unrefined flour gives the body energy, for example, it is recommended to eat it before physical activity.
Of course, all the benefits can be nullified if you accompany the dish with a fat sauce or serve as a side dish for meat - such a serving has nothing to do with the traditions of the Mediterranean. Light sauces based on olive oil, vegetables, fish and seafood will be the right choice for pasta.
Spaghetti with mini broccoli and pine nuts
- Broccoli pack (300 g).
- Spaghetti 250 g.
- Pine nuts 40 g.
- Olive oil 20 ml.
- Ricotta 100 g.
- Salt to taste.
- Cook the spaghetti until cooked al dente.
- Boil broccoli according to the instructions.
- Break 100 g of broccoli with a blender. Mix with ricotta and olive oil.
- Toss the spaghetti sauce and the remaining broccoli, season with salt and heat in a saucepan over low heat for 2 minutes.
- Fry the pine nuts in a dry skillet and sprinkle them over the spaghetti before serving.
Olive oil, the alpha and omega of the Mediterranean diet, is the gastronomic symbol of this region. Olives began to be consumed here thousands of years ago. Untreated, they taste very bitter, so they were salted or squeezed out of oil.
The reason for this is the substance oleuropein, a phenolic compound that, together with omega fatty acids and vitamin E, determines the benefits of olives. Phenols are powerful antioxidants, have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and fight free radicals. Scientists have found that 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil a day significantly reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.
Met a mention of vitamin F, don't be surprised. Many people do not know that essential fatty acids have a common name - vitamin F. These are archidonic, linoleic and linolenic acids. The human body does not produce them and only receives them with food.
But remember that not all olive oil is created equal. The best is extra vergin, a cold-pressed oil produced by mechanical means. Its acidity, that is, the content of organic acids, does not exceed 0. 8%. During the production process, such oil fully retains vitamins and antioxidants; it should be stored in dark glass bottles at room temperature. It must not be heat treated.
Add olives themselves anywhere: in salads, soups, main courses, pies, toast or to an omelet. Olives have a salty taste; with them, dishes do not require additional salting, which will reduce the amount of salt consumed. Look for inspiration in our selection of olive recipes.
The second step of the pyramid is the sources of the correct protein, which is 30% in the Mediterranean diet. Part of the body gets proteins from plant foods, most of fish and seafood, natural yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat cheeses (cheeses made from goat and sheep milk are especially popular), white meat (chicken, turkey, rabbit) and eggs. Foods in this group should be eaten three to four times a week.
Fish should be eaten not only on Thursdays, as the Book of tasty and healthy food bequeathed, but several times a week. If you choose between river and sea, choose the second, and fatty varieties. With it, you will receive not only protein, but also Omega 3 acids, iodine, which is rarely found in foods, and an excellent complex of vitamins: A, E, D, C, B vitamins. dense structure of muscle fibers. Therefore, they immediately begin to be digested, which makes fish an ideal dietary product.
Talking about fish often leads to complaints that it is expensive and that it is almost impossible to buy good fish. Let's clear up these exciting questions.
Indeed, few people manage to buy freshly caught fish. In this case, as with vegetables, do not be afraid to use deep freeze. Observe the rules of defrosting: on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, which will take 10-12 hours and retain all the nutrients. Again, as with vegetables, when buying, pay attention that there are no ice crystals in the package. They are evidence that the fish was stored incorrectly: the temperature regime was not observed. Do not freeze the fish yourself either.
Fish in all countries is an expensive product, but there is a way out here too. You cannot afford salmon or tuna fillets, buy more affordable varieties: cod, mackerel, pink salmon, herring, halibut, flounder, saury, sardines. In principle, in Mediterranean countries, most families cook from these types of fish, the dishes with them are very tasty and varied. Many people ignore canned tuna, but in vain: it is much more budgetary than fresh and just as healthy if it is made not in oil, but in its own juice. Cooking salads with him is a pleasure: no need to bother with cutting.
Cod fillet with corn
- Young corn Bonduelle 1/3 can (140 g).
- Cod fillet 200 g.
- Radish 2 pcs.
- Cherry tomatoes 5 pcs.
- Lemon zest 2 pinches.
- Lemon juice 1 tsp
- Any greens to taste.
- Arugula for serving.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Dry the cod fillets, remove the bones with tweezers and place the fish in a baking dish. Then lightly drizzle with lemon juice, rub with a mixture of salt and pepper spices and lemon zest. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 15-25 minutes depending on the fillet size.
- Cut the cherry in half, cut the radish into slices. Chop the herbs.
- Place the finished cod fillet on a serving platter. Place a garnish of corn, tomatoes, radishes and herbs nearby. Garnish with arugula.
The same applies to seafood: we will not aim at lobsters, oysters and lobsters, but let's take a closer look at mussels and shrimps. Iodine, selenium, zinc, iron, copper, magnesium - this is not a complete list of the minerals they contain, plus low calorie content. Shrimp are rich in vitamin B12 - it participates in the production of hemoglobin, and in mussels - vitamin E, which protects the cell membranes from destruction.
The last 10% includes red meat, which is recommended to be eaten no more than once a week, animal fats and simple carbohydrates. Try to cook the meat in a gentle way - stew or bake, and fry it without oil, on the grill. Without desserts, life is deprived of sweet joy, but still choose healthy desserts. Use minimal sugar, the natural sweetness of fruits, honey and even vegetables is enough. For example, young corn is sweet in itself, the desserts with it are delicious and original, and you can also eat it straight from the can.
Fruit salad with young corn
- Young corn Bonduelle 1 can (340 g).
- Blueberries 70 g.
- Strawberry 70 g.
- Raspberry 70 g.
- Orange 1 pc.
- Walnut 80 g.
- Natural yogurt 400 ml.
- Peel the zest from the orange. Cut the orange into slices.
- Drain the corn can. Mix the corn and berries.
- Chop walnuts and add to yogurt, mix.
- Put fruit salad with young corn in small bowls, add yogurt with walnuts. Serve with a slice of orange.
Finally, a few words about spices.
The aromas of sunny heat and Mediterranean gardens are contained in rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram. Parsley and garlic are the simplest and most affordable spices used by the region's chefs for centuries. A mixture of allspice, Provencal or Italian herbs will fill the dishes with meaning and interesting nuances. In addition, they will allow you to use less salt - the brightness of the spices is enough for a full flavor.
There are practically no prohibited foods in the Mediterranean diet and their list coincides with that given by all nutritionists. This is fast food and any "junk" food, industrial semi-finished products, sauces, sweets with preservatives and flavor enhancers.
Drink plenty of water, do not neglect a glass of dry red wine (but no more! ) And be healthy!