Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Mediterranean diet by Xristiana Vlachaki

You don't need a silver fork to eat good food.

It is widely known that Mediterranean diet is the healthiest of all. An analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Mediterranean diet is based on the dietary traditions of Crete, Greece and southern Italy around 1960.At that time  these populations were  relatively poor and had limited access to medical health, but their life expectancy was among the highest in the world.  But how and why the diet of the “poor” can be so helpful?
Types of food

Daily consumption of: bread, bulgur or pasta or couscous or rice, nuts, legumes(beans or peas), vegetables, fruit, nuts, olive oil, olives, cheese or yoghurt and wine. 
A few times per week consumption of: fish, poultry, potatoes, eggs, honey or fruit or nuts based sweets.
Monthly consumption of: red meat

Is that all? It sounds easy, but is it?

 Food quality

All of us eat bread, fruit, vegetables, poultry, fish, cheese etc. The difference is the quality of the ingredients included in our meals. A few questions for you to answer will clear any doubts.
Is there a difference between buying your vegetables from a supermarket or cultivating them by yourself ?
Which fruit do you consider healthier, the one that comes straight forward from a tree, or the one that has been kept in a fridge for a couple of months before you taste it?
Do you think there's a difference between goat milk of a local farm and processed cow milk in a carton?
What's your opinion about genetically modified food?
Free ranged chicken and eggs or factory-farmed chicken?
Fresh or frozen fish?

The answers of these questions give us a clue of what we mean by the term food quality. Mediterranean population's diet is not only based on more vegetables and less fat, it is mostly based on local products, unprocessed food, food grown without pesticides or chemicals, animals raised without antibiotics or hormones and off course GMO-free.
How foods are grown or raised certainly impacts our health. And that is a hidden secret of the Mediterranean diet.
When scientists studied the eating habbits of these populations in the '60s, it should be mentioned not only what and how they ate, but also the great quality and freshness of the products. At the time people used to have small farms, used traditional seeds, mastered fruit and vegetable cultivation, raised chicken and goats, had no access to super markets, used herbs growing in abundance in their nearby country, used to go fishing.
Last, but not least is the relation of the Mediterranean population with meals. They always accompany their lunch with a glass of wine and preferably enjoy it with friends and family. Eating is a pleasure for the Greeks and Italians, it's a social fact and joy. 

So do you still think it's easy to adopt the Mediterranean eating habbits?

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