What you need to know about the Mediterranean diet renowned for its health benefits

Also called the Mediterranean or Cretan diet, this “diet” is a way of eating – and even of living – that is renowned for its health benefits. We take stock of this recipe to adopt.

From vegetarianism to flexitarianism: we grill these diets to the taste of the day, what are we talking about?

We should rather speak of the “Cretan” diet, or the “Mediterranean diet”, because this way of eating is nourished by the culinary traditions of our marine basin. Our Occitan and Catalan cuisines include many ingredients. If we mention Crete, it is because studies were carried out in the 1950s on this island, where we observed a better longevity of the inhabitants, despite a failing health system. The Mediterranean diet was included in 2010 on the representative list of intangible heritage by UNESCO, but this recognition only concerns small communities deemed “emblematic” in Italy, Greece, Spain, Morocco, Cyprus, Croatia and… Portugal.

How is it good for health?

The Vidal, the doctors’ bible, has an article on this diet. Enough to convince pure Cartesians. The Mediterranean diet is known to promote weekly nutritional balance, and ticks the boxes of a majority of food recommendations, beyond indigestible slogans, such as “five fruits and vegetables a day”. Recipe ? The diet is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, with recognized virtues (fiber helps for example with intestinal balance). It is also full of Omega-3, which prevent cardiovascular diseases in particular and bring balm to our mind. Throw away processed foods, real pressure cookers with their high doses of sugar, salt, fat and other potentially harmful additives. The Cretan diet is also a way of life: we favor homemade food and shared meals. Much more appetizing than bland fast food.

What are the ingredients to adopt?

Seasonal fruits and vegetables. Pasta, rice, bread (but complete). Pulses (lentils, chickpeas, beans, etc.). Garlic, onion, spices and herbs. Oily fish (sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, etc.). Vegetable fats (including the essential olive oil). Nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc.).

What are the ingredients to avoid?

Red meat. The cold cuts. Cow’s dairy products (cheese, butter, cream, milk). Refined and industrial products (cereals for breakfast, industrial sandwich bread, ready meals, etc.). Sweet foods.

How to mix the two?

We are not talking about prohibition for the foods mentioned above. You have to know how to dose, especially if you are in transition. You can eat yogurts or sheep’s or goat’s cheese every day, but not milk. Allow yourself red meat, but a few times a month. Chicken or eggs should be limited to a few times a week. We add here a proven ingredient of the diet, but to consume in moderation, as of course: namely red wine, because its tannins are a source of antioxidants. Recommended dose: 12 cl per day.

How long do you apply this diet?

All the time, there is no expiration date! Contrary to its name, it is not a diet, as we understand it, with its corollary: weight loss. Nor a diet. Certainly, insofar as we eat less bad fats or sugars, we can lose weight, especially in the first weeks. We especially rough his cholesterol level, among others. And in the long run, the risk of cardiovascular disease is notably reduced.

What are the disadvantages, how to overcome them?

The main “bone” lies in the quality of food. Oily fish is fine, as long as it’s not stuffed with heavy metals. Fruits and vegetables ? Great, but not plagued by pesticides. In our region, we are well placed, because at the forefront of the Mediterranean. Short circuits are nearby, guarantees of traceability and quality. Another edge is cultural, in the land of cheese and bloody meat. But with us, this way of eating is always to taste, despite the cassoulet and other bowls of picolat. Finally, with a diet based on fruits and vegetables, it is not easy to find something to eat in winter. One solution: canning and freezing.

To read also in our file #Solutions “How to take care of yourself”

Leave a Comment