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The Advantages of Olive Oil

The Mediterranean Diet

WHY TALK ABOUT A MEDITERRANEAN DIET?
The word "diet" is of Greek origin: it comes from the word "diaita" which means a way of living, a lifestyle.

The Mediterranean diet is a way of looking at life and a natural way of eating based on local produce, recipes and the ways of cooking of each place, passed from generation to generation, sharing meals, celebrations and tradition. All this complemented by a perfect balance between work and leisure, friends and family, sport, culture and food.

A definition proposed for the Mediterranean Diet by the International Concensus Paper on olive oil and mediterranean diet is: "the traditional mediterranean diet is characterised by the abundance of food such as bread, pastas, green vegetables, salads, fruit and nuts; olive oil as the principal source of fat; moderate consumption of fish, poultry, dairy products and eggs, limited quantities of red meats and low to moderate quantities of wine taken normally at mealtimes".

                    Mediterranean Diet - a Model for healthy eating

THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET - A LIFESTYLE FOR  CURRENT TIMES

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The pyramid of the mediterranean diet registers the quantitative and qualitative elements for the selection of foods: along the base are the foods that should support the feeding, and on the higher levels, the foods that should be consumed in moderate quantities.

It also indicates the composition and number of portions of the principal meals, and reflects in its design, the social and cultural characteristics of the Mediterranean way of living. Among the the characteristics and basic products of the mediterranean diet is olive oil, a fundamental axis on which the majority of the mediterranean diet dishes are elaborated.

So, this pyramid includes all food groups, in proportions and frequencies concidental with up-to-date recommendations of a healthy diet:
- more than 50% of calories come from carbohydrates: by the abundance of foods like bread, pastas, green vegetables, salads, fruits and nuts.
- between 30-35% of calories from fat: olive oil being the principal source of fat
- 12% of calories from proteins: a moderate consumption of fish, poultry, dairy products and eggs and small quantities of red meats.

In turn, it is a diet low in saturated fatty acids, more than 50% of total  fatty acids being monounsaturated, coming from products such as olive oil and nuts, it is rich in fibres,as in cereals, fruits and greens and in products with high antioxidant capacity such as vegetables, fruit and wine (consumed in moderate to low quantities and preferably during meals). Associated to these eating habits, water as a preserred drink and frequent physical activities, also contribute to the benefits of the mediterranean diet. This pattern of food consumption is for a healthy adult population and should be adapted the specific needs of children, pregnant women and people with other health conditions.

12 STEPS TO ADOPT A MEDITERRANEAN LIFESTYLE

Substitute butter, maragarine
and oils by olive oil.

Nibble on nuts, fruits and seeds,
rather than salty snacks and appetizers.

Include a generous variety
of local fresh seasonal products.

Eat wholegrain bread, rice and pasta,
as well as other cereals.

Eat vegetables daily.

Serve dishes that include grain vegetables
such as beans, chick pea, broad beans or peas.

Use fish, poultry, beans, nuts and eggs as alternatives to red meats, limiting its use to occasional small portions (a maximum of a 1/3 to 1/2 kg per month).

Drink wine at meals, but not mor than one or two glasses per day.

Opt for fresh fruit for dessert.

Make enough time to enjoy and appreciate
each meal in a calm atmosphere.

Have physical activities to
promote a healthy weight.

Make meals a socialising break.

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