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Mediterranean diet

10 basic aspects to start you in the Mediterranean diet

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

Mediterranean diet foods
Different studies have shown the possible 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

Olive oil
Rich in monounsaturated fats, olive oil is the fat of choice in this diet.

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.

You may be interested: Olive oil, the best of the Mediterranean diet

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

Plant foods
Buying seasonal foods is good for your health and your pocketbook.

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

Fish
Reduce the consumption of red meat and increase the intake of fish and eggs.

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 .

Do not miss: Aromatic herbs: the secret of Mediterranean cuisine

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.

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Mediterranean diet

Why should you eat spinach raw? 5 benefits

You can buy spinach year-round, fresh, frozen, and canned. The nutritional content of spinach varies whether it is eaten cooked or raw. In this article we will explain the advantages of eating raw spinach, in addition to mentioning its benefits.

 

Spinach characteristics you should know

Like many other vegetables, spinach is packed with beneficial vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. One of these compounds is lutein, a pigment that is also present in many green leafy vegetables. It is an antioxidant that helps the immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties.

In detail, other characteristics of spinach are:

  • It is a vegetable composed mostly of water.
  • It contains very little carbohydrates but is high in protein.
  • It is very rich in vitamins and minerals and at the same time it is a very good source of omega 3 fatty acids .
  • Minerals: calcium, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium and Phosphorus.
  • Vitamins A, C, E, K and Group B Vitamins (including folic acid)

Also read: 7 reasons to eat spinach every day of the week

Why should we eat raw spinach?

Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have proven that lutein is  especially beneficial for the cardiovascular system  as it helps keep arteries in good condition.

Lutein breaks down in heat, so if cooked, most of its beneficial effect is lost. Therefore, if you are interested in preserving this specific nutrient to improve your cardiovascular system, you should eat them raw.

In addition, the researchers wanted to see how much the available lutein is reduced with different cooking methods  cooked in water, steamed or sautéed at different temperatures.

The highest amounts of lutein available were found in smoothies made with raw spinach  especially those containing dairy products (which can be substituted for plant-based milks). Spinach that had been cooked showed lower amounts of lutein,  especially in long cooking.

Bol de espinacas ricas en ácido fólico.
The consumption of raw spinach allows a better use of some of its main nutrients.

More reasons to eat raw spinach …

In the case of spinach, consuming it raw can be a good way to protect its high vitamin C content. Raw spinach also has fewer calories than cooked spinach  and appears to retain better folates, which are largely lost during cooking.

Another advantage of eating them raw has more to do with our tastes. Since it is a way to maintain its crunchy texture, very pleasant in salads or garnishes.

Benefits of eating spinach

1. Protect your brain

Various components of spinach such as potassium, folate, and various antioxidants provide neurological benefits to people who consume it regularly.

According to neurology,  folate reduces the onset of  Alzheimer’s disease , which is why spinach is a very good option for people who are at high risk for neuronal or cognitive decline.

2. Regulates blood pressure

Spinach is high in potassium and low in sodium. This composition of minerals is a benefit for patients with  high blood pressure  since potassium helps regulate blood pressure while sodium increases it.

presión arterial
Due to its potassium content, spinach supports the treatment against high blood pressure.

3. Could fight some cancers

Spinach is made up of several important elements that have shown promise in the treatment and prevention of various types of cancer. The different components of spinach, such as folate, tocopherol and chlorophyllin, act through different mechanisms that are beneficial against this disease.

You may be interested in reading: Spinach, carrot and lemon: medicinal drink to eliminate toxins

4. Strengthen your bones

Spinach is a good source of Vitamin K, which works in the retention of calcium in the bone matrix, which leads to bone mineralization. Apart from this, other minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus also help in building strong bones.

This in turn can prevent a person from developing  osteoporosis . These minerals are also essential for maintaining healthy teeth and nails .

5. Strengthen your muscles

A component in spinach, called C0-Q10 factor, which is an antioxidant, plays an important role in strengthening muscles. Especially the muscles of the heart that continuously pump blood to all parts of the body.

Finally, we remind you that because it is prone to oxalates, it should be avoided by those who suffer from arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis and kidney colic. If you do not identify with these cases, you can enjoy it regularly without problem.

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Mediterranean diet

Mediterranean hypocaloric diet: what should you keep in mind?

The Mediterranean diet is a true treasure for our health. In addition, following a low-calorie Mediterranean diet has proven benefits. Next, we will discover what we must take into account to make it healthy, effective and pleasant. Take note!

The Mediterranean diet, a source of health

There are many benefits that the Mediterranean diet brings to our health. Most of them associated with the prevention of chronic diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high triglycerides and cholesterol, among others. 

Over the past decades, the Mediterranean diet has been the subject of a large number of scientific studies. Among them , the Predimed study (Prevention with Mediterranean Diet) stands out. In it, the effects of this eating pattern were studied in a total of 7,400 patients who were followed for 5 years. 

Read more  10 basic aspects to start you in the Mediterranean diet

Predimed-plus, hypocaloric Mediterranean diet

“Following a Mediterranean diet low in calories and practicing physical activity on a daily basis helps to lose weight, reduce cardiovascular risk and also maintain these benefits after one year in patients with overweight or obesity and metabolic syndrome” 

This is the main conclusion of the Predimed-plus study, in which it was also observed that the patients who followed this dietary pattern presented “ improvements in   the control parameters of glucose metabolism, its lipid profile and some inflammation markers; regarding the patients who did not follow him ” . 

And these results are encouraging to face   the increasing rates of overweight and obesity that have been registered in Spain in recent decades.  Adherence to the diet (being able to follow it for a long time) is a key point to be able to maintain its long-term benefits and really improve our state of health. 

Now that we know the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and how a diet with fewer calories can help our health, let’s see how we put it into practice. 

The 5 key points of the Mediterranean hypocaloric diet

A calorie restriction cannot be done at the expense of the quality of our diet or the balance of macronutrients. In addition, it is important to keep the basic principles of the Mediterranean diet intact so as not to lose its beneficial effects.

To avoid making mistakes that can harm our health, we will follow these 5 basic tips. In this way, our hypocaloric Mediterranean diet will be a success. 

1. Vegetables, protagonists of our meals

Vegetables for a hypocaloric Mediterranean diet
A high consumption of fresh vegetables is key to following the eating plan proposed by the Mediterranean diet.

Vegetables, greens, and fruits are great sources of antioxidants, fiber, and valuable vitamins. These nutrients   can help us prevent cardiovascular disease and other health problems.

In a hypocaloric Mediterranean diet, vegetables should be one of the bases of our diet. If they represent about half of what we eat and have dinner, it is a good portion. 

A trick not to fail: eat   a good salad or some roasted vegetables as a first course. They are light, they help us hydrate and eliminate fluids. On the other hand,  well chewed, they have a satiating effect thanks to the fiber they provide.

There are many vegetables with which to make salads and other very varied dishes. Some options are:

  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Cucumber
  • Spinach
  • Endive
  • Radishes
  • Celery
  • pumpkin
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant

We only have to watch the extra ingredients, since if we add a lot of cheese, tuna, corn, olives or pasta, they will no longer be low-calorie dishes.

Read more: 5 low-calorie sauces for your salads

2. Nutritious breakfasts

To follow a low calorie   Mediterranean   diet, it is not necessary to   restrict any food.  At breakfast time we can opt for a toast of whole wheat bread with tomato and olive oil , accompanied by a bit of Serrano ham, tuna or a slice of cheese. 

Another more than healthy option is to make a bowl of yogurt or natural kefir with fresh cut fruit and a handful of nuts.  

In any case, we will try to avoid white bread, breakfast cereals, cookies or soluble cocoa. They usually have large amounts of sugar and are very palatable foods that can make us hungrier after a while.

3. Eggs, legumes and fish: sources of protein

Fish
Fish, like eggs and legumes, are healthy sources of protein. Therefore, they should not be lacking in this diet.

To accompany the vegetables, it is best to choose a good quality protein source. Blue or white fish and eggs are low calorie foods that we can cook in a healthy way. In addition, foods rich in protein have a satiating effect that will leave us full for longer.

The fish can be cooked in the oven, grilled or steamed, and seasoned with spices or fresh herbs to give an extra touch of flavor. Eggs can be cooked or in an omelette.

Legumes also provide us with good proteins, as well as fiber and minerals. They have always been part of the Mediterranean diet; however, now its consumption is being lost. Therefore, it is important to recover it, since they are very beneficial for our health.

We can add them   to our salad, two or three days a week, and we get a complete and nutritious combined dish.

4. The fats, always present in the diet.

Fats are one of the nutrients that contribute the most energy to our diet. But they are also an essential nutrient for the proper functioning of our body.  

So it is not advisable to eliminate fats from the diet even if it is low-calorie diets. The main thing is to make a good choice and not go overboard with the quantities. 

The olive oil   extra virgin (EVOO) is one of the healthiest fats you can find. So this will be our choice when it comes to cooking and dressing our dishes daily.  We can make delicious homemade vinaigrettes with lemon or orange juice, vinegar and fresh herbs. 

Nuts also provide us with healthy monounsaturated fats. In addition, they exert a satiating effect and provide a good amount of fiber, ideal for regulating our intestinal transit.  A handful a day for breakfast or a snack will suffice. It is best if they are raw or toasted. No fried, salted or special cocktails to snack on. 

5. Healthy and light food also between meals

Fruit salad
Fruit or vegetable sticks are ideal to satisfy hunger between meals without damaging the diet.

If you are one of those people who need to eat something mid-morning or mid-afternoon, or you know that you will be unable to eat for many hours, you have to plan well. Otherwise, we may fall into the temptation to eat the first thing we have on hand, and that many times are often not recommended options.

Anticipating the situation and preparing something light is the best idea so as not to break the hypocaloric Mediterranean diet. A piece of fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, a natural yogurt or some vegetable sticks with hummus are the best possible choice. 

Have you already taken your notes? Now we can get down to work and really take care of ourselves with the Mediterranean diet. Of course, we suggest you accompany it with physical exercise and good lifestyle habits.

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Mediterranean diet

Can olive oil protect against heart attack?

Can olive oil protect against heart attack?

There are many properties that for a long time have been known about olive oil, especially in chronic diseases. Perhaps we have heard that olive oil can protect against heart attack .

It is being given more and more importance and more people are adding it to their diet every day. But what components does it have that make it so healthy? How does it help us in preventing diseases or a heart attack? Let’s see it next.

What is and how does a heart attack occur?

It is known that heart attacks cause many deaths in the world. They occur when there is an obstruction or blockage in a blood vessel that prevents the irrigation of an organ. This can have major complications.

What are the most common causes of a heart attack?

We must be clear that, among the most common causes that can cause a heart attack, there are some factors that we can modify or control. These are mainly related to lifestyle. Some of them are the following:

  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Smoking
  • Arterial hypertension.
  • Alteration of lipids in the blood.

Many of these aspects, as we can see, are associated with an inadequate diet or poor quality food . Fortunately, there are many other foods with great benefits for our health, such as olive oil.

It may interest you: Do we know how to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack?

Olive oil, why do we call it liquid gold?

Olive oil is a food with many antioxidant substances and vitamins , mainly vitamin E and C. In addition, it is rich in other natural compounds such as carotenes and polyphenols. These are antioxidant compounds that help prevent many diseases from occurring.

Healthy compounds in olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best sources of omega 9

Polyphenols: protection for health

As we know, there are substances that have anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic power, as is the case with polyphenols. Consumed in adequate amounts, polyphenols help prevent heart disease . Some of these diseases are, for example, high blood pressure and myocardial infarction.

Olive oil fats

This oil is also rich in oleic acid or, as it is also known, omega 9. It is a type of monounsaturated fat that reduces the levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood and, in turn, increases HDL cholesterol. This is yet another benefit that turns this food into liquid gold.

In addition, this fatty acid is very abundant in the brain and neurons need it to communicate with each other. The Spanish Heart Foundation (FEC) recognizes that the daily intake of olive oil helps us protect cardiovascular health thanks to its antioxidant components and its type of fat.

Protective effect of olive oil in a heart attack

As we have already mentioned, antioxidants, vitamins E and C , carotenoids and phenolic compounds have a protective effect because they have the ability to clean excess fat from the blood.

Thus, they prevent atheroma plaques from forming . If this happens, the arteries are blocked and the heart will need to pump much harder for the blood to get through this very narrow space. When there is a blockage, a heart attack is possible. For this reason, olive oil can protect us from a heart attack.

How to detect a false heart attack

 

Read also: Work stress associated with the risk of heart attack

How do you protect from other problems?

As we have said, there are many health benefits of olive oil with respect to the heart and circulatory system, but these are not the only ones.

It also has an important protective function in the brain . Omega 9 fatty acid is very abundant in the brain and is needed by neurons to communicate with each other.

Does any oil have these properties?

It is a common question, but the answer is no. We must pay attention to this because there are many types of oil on the market. However, extra virgin olive oil is the one with the best properties; also the virgin type.

In fact, they are not called that by chance. This name is given because they have all their components in large quantities. However, this does not happen in an olive oil that is mixed with another product or in refined olive oil.

In addition, something key is that professionals always recommend consuming it raw and not subjecting it to cooking. This is to avoid damaging its components.

Olive oil in preventing heart attacks, what should be clear?

Adding virgin olive oil to the diet helps maintain health . There are many benefits. Among others, it protects us from cardiovascular problems and heart attacks.

However, it is not worth just consuming olive oil. To achieve these effects, it must be accompanied by a balanced diet. Likewise, physical exercise is essential to help us take care of our health.

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Mediterranean diet

10 things that will motivate you to follow the Mediterranean diet

Following the Mediterranean diet is one of the best options for those who seek to maintain their ideal weight, in addition to taking care of their health. But what is special about this diet? We invite you to continue reading and learn about all the benefits that this diet can bring to your health.

 

The Mediterranean diet is not just a series of nutritional recommendations, it is much more than that, it is associated with a balanced lifestyle and constitutes an authentic cultural heritage of the peoples of the Mediterranean basin .

In fact, on November 16, 2010, it was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in a joint denomination of Spain, Greece, Italy and Morocco.

What foods make up the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by the fact that you can eat all kinds of foods, as long as the famous food pyramid is respected , which lays the foundations of which foods should be taken daily, which should be taken weekly, and which are those that should be take occasionally.

Mediterranean diet foods
The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest eating models, as it involves nutrient restrictions and suggests eating healthy and balanced.

Foods that should be eaten daily

  • Cereals: Pasta, rice and bread are an example of this, so experts recommend taking 30 grams of bread a day, and between 60 and 80 grams of pasta and rice a day.
  • Fruit and vegetables: The base of the nutritional pyramid indicates that 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables should be taken (alternated) a day, which corresponds to 120-180 grams of fruit, and between 150 and 200 grams of vegetables.
  • One and a half liters of water daily.
  • A glass of milk or two yogurts
  • One tablespoon of raw extra virgin olive oil.
  • Dressings like onion and garlic also raw.

Foods to be eaten weekly

  • Fish
  • Lean meat
  • Red meat: one serving per week is recommended.
  • Eggs: two to four servings per week.
  • Legumes and potatoes: recommended 3 times a week.

Foods that should be eaten occasionally

  • Pastries
  • Pastry
  • Candies
  • Sugar
  • Sugary juices and soft drinks

Also read : Olive oil, the best of the Mediterranean diet

10 reasons that will convince you to follow the Mediterranean diet

1. Considered one of the best diets based on scientific evidence

The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the dietary patterns with the greatest accumulated scientific evidence regarding its benefits for human health.

It has long been a focus of interest in the scientific community, especially for its therapeutic role against various pathologies associated with chronic inflammation, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, among others.

Woman eating a salad
The Mediterranean diet has been extensively researched for its health benefits. Your eating pattern can help prevent and treat various diseases.

2. Boost good cholesterol

According to researchers from the Center for Biomedical Research in Network Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBEROBN) and the Hospital del Mar Institute for Medical Research (IMIM), the Mediterranean diet helps the particles that  carry the so-called good cholesterol , which is the one that prevents the arteries from clogging, operate properly .

3. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases 

Different studies have revealed that in Mediterranean countries people suffer fewer cardiovascular diseases than in the rest, due to the high amount of nutrients that traditional recipes contain.

4. Reduces the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes

The Predimed trial, led by Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, Professor of Public Health at the University of Navarra and also visiting professor at Harvard since June, has shown that the Mediterranean diet reduces circulatory problems by 66% , and by 30% heart attacks and strokes and a 68% risk of breast cancer.

5. Combat severe depression 

A team of scientists from the Australian University of Deakin conducted a series of tests that determined that the Mediterranean diet fights severe depression .

Tryptophan can help us deal with depression.
Following the Mediterranean diet can contribute to the prevention and treatment of depression. Healthy foods have a positive effect on brain chemistry.

6. Increases longevity 

People who follow the Mediterranean diet tend to live longer since it favors life expectancy and reduces the aging process thanks to its proposal to eat foods rich in antioxidants and high-quality nutrients.

7. Good for obesity

Little fat is consumed and the one used for cooking is olive oil. Much healthier than butters and other typical animal and vegetable fats from other diets. Therefore, it turns out to be a good option to deal with obesity. 

Read also: Decalogue to follow a healthier diet

8. Avoid mental decline

Green leafy vegetables, which have many antioxidants, prevent cell breakdown . Eat at least one serving to the day of such vegetables helps slow cognitive decline associated with aging, as suggests a study published in the journal Neurology .

9. Helps to achieve the ideal weight

The Mediterranean diet is very varied and with a low caloric intake. If you combine it with physical exercise, you can get closer to your ideal weight. Fighting overweight also removes many diseases that are worsened by poor physical shape.

Unlike the so-called “miracle diets, the Mediterranean diet helps to achieve a healthy and balanced weight without causing adverse effects. By the way, it favors the prevention of diseases associated with being overweight.

10. Following the Mediterranean diet helps the environment 

One of the bases of the Mediterranean diet is the consumption of  fresh and seasonal food , so by adopting these eating habits you will be helping the environment by promoting an adequate use of its natural resources.

After reading these 10 reasons to follow the Mediterranean diet, have you still not convinced yourself how recommendable it is? Take advantage of the arrival of summer to benefit from the great variety of fruits, vegetables and vegetables that the season offers us to start putting these tips into action.