The Mediterranean diet presents several diversifications from one Mediterranean country to another. This is due to local habits and traditions as well as to the local flora and fauna of each region.

But, there are common elements in the dietary habits of all Mediterranean people, such as olive oil and abundance of fruits, pulses and greens that make up the basic characteristics of the Mediterranean diet.

The diet of our forefathers is beneficial to our health and longevity.

 

Basic characteristics:

  • Abundance of natural fibres (bread, vegetables, pulses and fruits)
  • Olive oil
  • Average to low consumption of fish, poultry, dairy products and eggs
  • Low consumption of red meat
  • Wine with meals
    (according to the definition that European specialists concluded upon at the meeting that took place at the Italian National Board of Research on 11th April, 1997 in Rome).

 

The advantages:

  • Thanks to the variety of the foods comprising the Mediterranean diet there are endless possibilities. Foods can be cooked in many different ways, like greens for example that can be made into a salad, or used as pie filling or a side dish.
  • Enjoyable and healthy. Pulses, vegetables and cereals combined with olive oil and herbs like oregano, thyme etc. offer us a healthy diet that is, at the same time, particularly tasty.
  • A shield for our health. It is now scientifically proven that the people who follow a Mediterranean diet stand less chances of presenting with coronary disease compared to those who follow a different diet. Aside from the beneficial action for the heart, the Mediterranean diet is linked to the protection from diabetes mellitus, obesity and certain forms of cancer (e.g. bowel cancer). The rich natural fibres of cereals (composite carbohydrates) have protective action against colon, breast, endometrial and prostate cancer. Fruits and vegetables, when consumed in abundance, seem to act against cancer, as far as that of the digestive system and other forms are concerned. Scientists point out that ingredients and foods of the Mediterranean diet act this way combined and not when consumed individually.
  • The anti-acid elements found in abundance in the ingredients of the Mediterranean diet (vitamins A, E, C, beta-carotene and flavonoids –wine phenols-, phenolic acids (of fruits, vegetables and olive oil) fight off the oxidation and aging of the cells. That is the main secret of the Mediterranean diet which influences longevity.

Eat whatever is natural and colourful that makes your dish more beautiful.

 

Olive oil

It is the basis of the Mediterranean diet and the healthiest of all oils, thanks to the fact that it contains up to 83% of monounsaturated fatty acids. According to multiple scientific researches, olive oil as an ingredient of our daily diet:

  • Reduces both overall and bad cholesterol
  • Protects from coronary disease
  • Creates predisposition for lower blood pressure
  • Appears to protect from cancer

The use of olive oil in the frying pan is recommended against any other oil or fat since it is more resistant. But it is best to consume it raw and add it at the end of cooking.

 

The pyramid of the Mediterranean Diet. 

 

 

Micro portions equivalence (approximately)

  • A slice of bread 30 – 35 grams
  • 100 grams of potatoes
  • Half a cup (50 – 60 grams) of cooked rice or pasta
  • One cup of raw uncut vegetables or half a cup of thinly sliced vegetables
  • Apple: 80 grams, banana: 60 grams, orange: 100 grams, melon or watermelon: 200 grams, grapes: 30 grams
  • A glass of milk, one yoghurt, 30 grams of cheese
  • An egg
  • Approximately 60 grams of cooked meat or fish with no fat
  • A cup of cooked pulses

Source: «Dietary instructions for adults in Greece», Ministry of Health, Special Supreme Scientific Board of Health.