The Mediterranean diet has enjoyed for years a great reputation among nutritionists and experts. Its high quality of nutrients, the easy access to the foods that compose it and, why not say it, the wide variety of delicious dishes and recipes that can be prepared, make it appetizing and desirable for any consumer. But what foods form part of the Mediterranean diet?
As you might expect, the Mediterranean diet includes different types of fish, citrus fruits, nuts, the best olive oil in the world and excellent legumes, fruits and vegetables. In short, foods that allow you to maintain a healthy lifestyle effortlessly.
What are the main advantages of the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity thanks to its proven benefits and cultural contributions spread across several countries.
There are many scientific studies that highlight the many factors that can be highlighted about this diet, but there are undoubtedly two of the most important: it helps prevent cancer and protects cardiovascular health.
According to the Mediterranean Diet Foundation (Spain), the secret of these benefits lies in the following:
- The fats that characterize this diet come from oily fish, olive oil and nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts…).
- The main nutrients of its recipes are obtained in a very good proportion since many times cereals, legumes or vegetables are the base of the dishes and meat or similar foods serve as garnish.
- The use of seasonal fruits and vegetables and aromatic herbs increases the richness in micronutrients.
Which foods stand out in the Mediterranean diet?
There are many foods that stand out within the Mediterranean diet, but there are some that make it special and differentiate it from others.
Fruits, vegetables and greens
Oranges, lemons, strawberries, cherries, melons, peaches, nectarines… The list of fruits that obtain their best degree of ripeness and therefore their best flavor and nutritional contribution in the Mediterranean basin is almost endless.
To this we must add tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, eggplants, zucchini… Recipes such as Andalusian gazpacho, salmorejo, moussaka or ratatouille demonstrate their versatility to offer a healthy gastronomy without sacrificing the best flavor.
Fish and seafood
Oily fish such as salmon, sardines or mackerel are essential allies in the fight against cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as providing an unmistakable flavor to any dish.
Seafood is rich in iodine, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron and calcium and helps prevent anemia, improves the functioning of the thyroid gland and contributes to better bone and teeth health.
Nuts, especially hazelnuts and almonds
Spain has been a major producer of hazelnuts for centuries and has its own designations of origin. Its oleic acid and vitamin E content make it a powerful antioxidant with a good number of benefits.
Almonds, introduced to Spain by the Phoenicians and converted into a gastronomic luxury during the Muslim era, are a source of vegetable proteins, lots of calcium and healthy fats. Their different varieties, Marcona or Valencia, guarantee a great taste whether they are consumed as a healthy snack or used in any dish.
Rice, corn, wheat and oats are fundamental pillars of the Mediterranean diet. It only takes a moment to think about their enormous importance if we look at the number of incredible recipes that revolve around them.
Spanish paellas or Italian risottos. The huge number of pasta dishes or the great variety of breads that are made every day show the vital importance of cereals in this diet.
In addition to helping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, olive oil is in itself a sign of cultural identity.
Olive cultivation, harvesting and processing are part of the idiosyncrasies of places such as southern Spain, southern Italy and certain regions of Greece.
It has been scientifically proven that the consumption of legumes helps to reduce the chances of developing colon cancer, lower blood pressure and reduce weight.
In addition, lentils, beans and chickpeas have also been a key ingredient in a large number of spoon dishes that have been warming us up in the winters of the Mediterranean region for centuries.
Meat such as chicken, pork or beef, within a moderate consumption, help to obtain a large amount of proteins that stimulate the proper functioning of various muscle groups.
Walnut Wellness Nuts, always with the Mediterranean diet
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