Do you know the basics of this diet? Undoubtedly, this cultural heritage transmits healthy eating habits that you must know when starting the Mediterranean diet. For this reason, below we will tell you everything you need to know about it.
Famous in countries all over the planet, the Mediterranean diet has ranked first among the healthiest in the world . If you are determined to change your eating habits, read on and discover the basics of adopting the Mediterranean diet.
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet has become one of the most famous in the world, precisely because of its extensive health benefits. Next, we will see the main ones:
1. Decreased cardiovascular risk
A study by Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health concluded that women who follow the Mediterranean diet would have a 25% reduction in cardiovascular risk over the next 12 years. These eating habits are associated with a lower level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
2. Longer longevity
These eating habits have been associated with greater longevity, according to data obtained from research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School.
3. Could help prevent cognitive decline
The results of a 2016 study indicate that the elderly population that follows the Mediterranean diet shows an improvement in their cognitive functions . Other research found that good eating habits could slow down some brain changes in early Alzheimer’s development.
4. Could protect against cancer
In 2017, researchers found evidence that high adherence to this diet could decrease the incidence of cancer, specifically colorectal cancer. In addition, they observed a slight decrease in the incidence of breast cancer .
How to get started on the Mediterranean diet?
The first step to get started on the Mediterranean diet is to know its pillars, that is, those foods that make it up and make it one of the healthiest options in the world. Let’s see them below:
1. Olive oil as fat of choice
Rich in vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants, it is the quintessential oil of the Mediterranean diet. It is used to dress salads, fry, accompany toasts and everything that needs some type of fat to dress or cook. If you plan to start the Mediterranean diet, abandon the butter and consume olive oil.
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2. Daily consumption of plant-based foods
Vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts are consumed daily and regularly due to their great contribution of minerals, vitamins, fiber and antioxidants . In fact, according to the food pyramid of the Mediterranean diet, each main meal should include:
- 1-2 fruits.
- More than 2 servings of vegetables, natural or cooked. Preferably, at least one raw portion per day.
3. Daily cereal intake
One or two servings per meal of cereals, preferably whole grains, in the form of rice, pasta, bread, couscous or other varieties are recommended. The carbohydrates obtained through these foods provide the necessary energy to face the day.
4. Choose fresh and seasonal foods
Buying and consuming local and seasonal foods allows us to take advantage of its nutrients, its flavor and its aroma. Choose low-processed and seasonal foods. It is a healthy and environmentally friendly measure.
5. Moderate consumption of red meat
Due to the health problems that the consumption of animal fats can trigger , a moderate consumption of red and processed meats is recommended . The saturated fats in these meats must be reduced according to the Mediterranean diet.
6. Daily consumption of dairy
Yogurts and cheeses are a daily part of the Mediterranean diet, as they are a source of essential minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, vitamins and proteins of high biological value.
They also contain probiotics, bacteria that have been shown to be beneficial for intestinal health.
7. Fish twice a week and eggs three or four
When starting the Mediterranean diet, it is important that you reduce your intake of red meat and instead, eat fish, for its contribution of Omega-3 fatty acids , and eggs, quality protein sources.
8. Pastries and sweets, very low consumption
It is not a matter of completely eliminating pastries from your diet, but rather that you remember that their consumption should be extremely moderate. In fact, less than two servings a week are recommended .
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9. Water as a drink of choice
Water is a fundamental pillar of the Mediterranean diet and it should be your drink of choice. Wine is also part of this diet, always being consumed in moderation and in an unusual way.
10. Physical exercise
A good diet is not the only thing you should try to enjoy good health . Do not forget to do daily and regular physical exercise to enjoy the benefits of a healthy diet.
Stick to the Mediterranean diet
As you can see, getting started on the Mediterranean diet involves making a series of habit changes . If you have doubts about it, consult your trusted doctor. He will guide you through the process and can help you create a menu based on your energy and nutritional needs.