The Mediterranean diet has showed its big and varied benefits through multiple clinical and epidemiological studies, and it is considered a protective factor in multiple processes, like cardiovascular diseases, certain neoplasms, some neurodegenerative diseases, including our aging.
Already by the fifties, an USA investigation team began to use the concept of the Mediterranean diet, establishing a direct relation between diet and health, noting that people who follow these food habits showed fewer incidences of certain diseases.
Mediterranean diet is probably the most diffused dietary and nutritional concept both between the scientific community and consumers.
Thus, it´s important to show which are the basic characteristics of this diet, and the best way to do that is to express it graphically with the food pyramid of Mediterranean diet.
- In the base we can see foods that are rich in carbohydrates like bread, rice, integral grains, and other whole grains. On the second important stair of Mediterranean diet composition we find fruits and vegetables followed by olive oil, the clearly star Mediterranean food. At the fourth stair, we find dairy, red wine and beer (optional consumption in adults) that should consumed in moderation; although all food appointed up here must be ingested daily in suitable proportions. As well you must remember that excess alcohol consumption is dangerous to health, the moderate consumption of fermented drinks can form a part of the actual Mediterranean diet, for the proprieties that they confer to a lesser degree and the raw materials with which they are elaborated. For this reason, the Sociedad Española de Nutrición Comunitaria (SENC) includes in the healthy eating pyramid – main reference on nutritional matters- fermented drinks (beer, wine, cava, cider) in optional and moderate way. Don’t forget, however, that the beneficial effects of these drinks are only noted when the consumption is moderate and responsible by healthy adults in the context of healthy and balanced nutrition. If you are taking drugs, if you are going to drive, or in the case of pregnant women, the consumption of alcohol must be nill.
- In the second section of the pyramid we find these foods that must be eaten between 2 and 4 times per week, as is the case of fish, nuts, vegetables, eggs, and poultry.
- In the top of the pyramid there are food whose consumption must be lowest in frequency, namely, to eat little parts a few times a month. For example: red meat, sweets, and other sources of sugar or saturated fats. If we observe the pyramid of the Mediterranean diet, we see that it is a complete diet that promotes the healthy fat, the food of animal origin or fibre and prevents nutritional deficiencies. Thus, this pyramid illustrates a healthy diet that is propitious to our health to prevent diseases, deficit and excesses.
However, don’tt forget that a healthy way of living isn’t achieved with a healthy diet, but requires supporting of physical activity, the absence of addictions and good rest to relieve stress.