Home Health Mediterranean diet: advantages, what to bring to the table, weekly menus

Mediterranean diet: advantages, what to bring to the table, weekly menus

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In 2010 UNESCO recognized the Mediterranean diet, the typical food model of the countries bordering the Mediterranean, such as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as an example of cultural wealth linked to the territory, to conviviality, to society. Not just a guideline on how to eat, but a real lifestyle.

“Indeed – explains the Dr. Valentina Schirò, nutritional biologist specialized in Food Sciences – it should more properly be called “Mediterranean style” because it encompasses knowledge, the traditions, the habits, the characteristic behaviors of the Mediterranean peoples. Other key aspects should not be underestimated, such as the incentive to perform physical activity, as a source of psychophysical well-being, and the socialization, because the act of eating is also synonymous with conviviality and sharing “.

The health benefits

As demonstrated by scientific evidence, today the Mediterranean Diet represents a real model of sana diet able to take precedence as a determining factor of prevention, counteracting the risk of the occurrence of important ones chronic pathologies. “There are numerous studies that still continue to confirm that adherence to this eating style leads to a significant reduction in metabolic pathologies such as diabetes, dyslipidemias, gout, but also chronic degenerative diseases such as those cardiovascular, neoplasms, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s ”, says Dr. Schirò.

A diet that extends life, therefore. This was also demonstrated by a 2020 research conducted by IRCCS experts ‘Saverio de Bellis’ of Castellana Grotte (Bari), and published in the ‘International Journal of Epidemiology’. “By filling in a food questionnaire – said the scientific director of Irccs, Gianluigi Giannelli at the end of the study – all were asked to answer questions on the frequency of intake of 233 foods in the last year, also by estimating the size of their portions based on photographs. A score was then calculated from these data to evaluate the adherence of each participant to the characteristics of the Mediterranean diet, then studying the score in relation to the state of health. Through a survival analysis we observed how the subjects who did not follow the Mediterranean diet or who followed it partially lived respectively approx 9 and 5 years younger compared to the group of the most adherents who have made this food model a real lifestyle “.

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A sustainable model

A model of diet with positive effects not only on health, but also in the environmental and economic sphere. “In particular – says Dr. Schirò – it can be considered a sustainable diet for several reasons:

  • use of traditional foods and local;
  • respect for seasonality food;
  • respect for traditions local culinary;
  • moderate consumption of foods of animal origin;
  • it is not monothematic;
  • allows you to experimenting with food combinations”.

What to bring to the table

But how to put it into practice? Healthy profile of fat, low percentage of carbohydrates, low glycemic index, high content of fibre food, antioxidant compounds ed effects anti-inflammatory: these are the nutritional characteristics of the Mediterranean Diet.

“Unlike many other diets – continues Dr. Schirò – where the use of one food over another is generally encouraged and, at times, even exasperated (eg. iperprot oak), the traditional Mediterranean diet does not exclude any food because one of its main cornerstones is precisely the variety, mainly related to seasonality”.

“This dietary approach allows us to avoid the assumption monotonous and repetitive of the same food allowing at the same time the possibility of take all nutrients to stay healthy even during particular physiological moments such as pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Fresh and dried fruit, cereals and derivatives, aromatic herbs and spices, vegetables and legumes are staple foods that must be consumed daily. On the other hand, the consumption of should be moderate fish (preferably blue), meat (mostly white), dairy products and eggs. Everything must be seasoned with extra virgin olive oil. At least 1.5 l of water to maintain and promote the condition of well-being “.

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Also important is the combination of foods according to various and tasty modules, however always complete from a nutritional point of view (cereals and legumes, cereals and foods of animal origin, meat or fish with vegetables). The distribution of meals also follows precise rules of daily periodicization and occasionality (festive food and weekday food).

However, although the Mediterranean Diet last year ranked as best diet in the world, in front of the dash and the flexariana (based on the best diets ranking 2020 elaborated by the American media US News & World‘s Report’s), in recent times there has been a gradual abandonment of the Mediterranean diet for the benefit of less healthy eating styles. “Despite the certain positive effects – points out the nutritionist Schirò – they are about 50.000.000 of Italians who don’t really know what the Mediterranean diet is. Among the factors that encourage the affirmation of a non-Mediterranean food model are: the increase in the consumption of meals outside the home; the globalization of consumption; the reduction of the time spent preparing meals due to the increasingly frenetic pace lifestyle; the considerable consumption of packaged and pre-cooked meals; the increase in the consumption of take-away meals “.

This is why it is important to educate about the Mediterranean diet from an early age. Not only a way to help the younger generations to prevent diseases when they are adults, but also to make them aware of the enormous ones potential that its adoption can also have an economic and environmental point of view.

The weekly menus

MONDAY

BREAKFAST: Natural white yogurt; toasted wholemeal bread and jam

Lunch: Pasta with aubergines, tomatoes and capers; raw vegetable salad; fresh fruit of the season

PRICE: Grilled vegetables; swordfish with aromatic herbs; whole grain bread; fresh fruit of the season

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TUESDAY

BREAKFAST: Fresh milk partial Skimmed; dry buckwheat biscuits; fresh fruit of the season

LUNCH: Chickpea salad, cherry tomatoes, basil, rocket, spelled; fresh fruit of the season

PRICE: Cooked vegetables; chicken in foil with sage, rosemary and lemon; whole grain bread; fresh fruit of the season

WEDNESDAY

BREAKFAST: Natural white yogurt; muesli

LUNCH: Cous cous with vegetables and lentils; fresh fruit of the season

PRICE: Grilled vegetables; octopus, potato and herb salad; whole grain bread; fresh fruit of the season

THURSDAY

BREAKFAST: Fresh milk partial Skimmed; dry oat biscuits; fresh fruit of the season

LUNCH: Brown rice with mushrooms and peas; raw vegetable salad; fresh fruit of the season

PRICE: Grilled vegetables; goat cheese; whole grain bread; fresh fruit of the season

FRIDAY

BREAKFAST: Fresh milk partial Skimmed; muesli

LUNCH: Pasta with raw tomatoes, basil and toasted pine nuts; raw vegetable salad; fresh fruit of the season

PRICE: Grilled vegetables; salmon steak in an almond crust; whole grain bread; fresh fruit of the season

SATURDAY

BREAKFAST: Natural white yogurt; toasted wholemeal bread and jam

LUNCH: Pasta with raw tomatoes, basil and toasted pine nuts; raw vegetable salad; fresh fruit of the season

PRICE: Green bean and tomato salad; omelette with courgette flowers and basil; whole grain bread; fresh fruit of the season

SUNDAY

BREAKFAST: Fresh milk partial Skimmed; dry oat biscuits; fresh fruit of the season

LUNCH: Pasta with swordfish, pistachios and mint; raw vegetable salad; fresh fruit of the season

PRICE: Salad of raw vegetables, carrots and shrimps; whole grain bread; fresh fruit of the season

* SNACKS / SNACKS FOR EVERY DAY

  • Mint infusion with toasted pine nuts and wholemeal dry biscuits;
  • Natural yogurt;
  • Wholemeal bread, fresh tomato and basil;
  • Wholemeal bread and ricotta;
  • Fresh fruit or fruit salad;
  • Dried fruit.

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