The Mediterranean diet is beneficial for health. In fact, it has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and degenerative diseases, among others.
The term was born in 1960, when Ancel Keys published a study showing that countries bordering the Mediterranean had a lower mortality rate from heart disease than other regions. Since then, many studies have corroborated its great benefits for cardiovascular health and its popularity has continued to grow.
If you want to know more about this eating style, read on. We will give you all the details.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a healthy way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries such as Spain, Greece, Italy and other regions of the Mediterranean basin.
Characteristics of the Mediterranean diet
- High consumption of natural, fresh and healthy foods, such as vegetables, legumes and fruits, as well as seeds, cereals and nuts.
- Moderate consumption of fish, seafood, dairy products and poultry.
- Occasional consumption of red meat.
- Use of seasonings in the preparation of recipes: garlic, parsley, onion, herbs, etc.
- Use of olive oil as the main source of culinary fat to the detriment of butter or margarine.
- Intake of water at meals instead of soft drinks or alcohol.
As we have already mentioned, olive oil is the main fat used in the Mediterranean diet, both for seasoning dishes and for cooking, which makes it a great ally for cardiovascular health.
The reason? It has a high oleic acid content, that is, monounsaturated fats that reduce total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL), as well as blood pressure levels. Also, thanks to its antioxidants and carotenoid and phenolic compounds, it prevents heart disease and aging.
Nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts also contain monounsaturated fats, equally beneficial for cardiovascular health. They are also rich in antioxidants, omega-6 fatty acids, fiber and vitamins. Of course, if we talk about heart-healthy fats we should not forget fish such as salmon, sardines, albacore tuna or mackerel, sources of omega-3 fatty acids capable of reducing inflammation in the body, but also the risk of heart failure and stroke.
Importance of the Mediterranean diet in nutrition
The term “Mediterranean diet” originated in the 1960s, when Ancel Keys published a study showing that the regions of the Mediterranean basin had a lower mortality rate due to cardiovascular pathologies than other countries such as the United States or northern Europe. Since then, new studies have emerged confirming that the Mediterranean diet is heart-healthy.
In fact, it is recommended by many organizations and entities, from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to the WHO. In addition, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization refers to it as an intangible cultural asset.
What are the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet?
The advantages of the Mediterranean diet are multiple and it is not only heart-healthy, it is also beneficial in other areas of health.
- It protects and cares for the heart. The Mediterranean diet has high levels of unsaturated fats, which are very beneficial for cardiovascular health. Therefore, it prevents the onset of heart disease, coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction.
- It reduces the risk of certain diseases, such as diabetes, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.
- It prevents the onset of thrombosis or atherosclerosis and reduces pain in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
- It reduces the chances of developing certain types of cancer, especially breast, stomach, ovarian and esophageal cancer.
How to start with the Mediterranean diet?
When following a Mediterranean lifestyle it is important to take into account the following tips:
- Prepare meals rich in vegetables, greens and whole grains.
- Eat fish at least twice a week.
- Replace butter and other similar products with olive oil.
- Include fruits in the menu, being able to consume them in the breakfast, in the snack and in the dessert of the main meals.
- Consume nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts…) alone or as an additional ingredient in recipes.
- Avoid consumption of ultra-processed foods (pastries, sweets …) and soft drinks or carbonated beverages, as they are harmful to health.
El Nogal Wellness Nuts, suppliers of top quality nuts
In El Nogal Wellness Nuts we are suppliers of gourmet nuts, essential if you want to follow a healthy lifestyle based on the Mediterranean diet. Thus, we provide the food industry and retailers with the best natural ingredients and the most innovative recipes so that food lovers can savor the authentic Mediterranean flavor.
For more information, please download our catalog. We will be pleased to advise you on everything you need.