The Mediterranean is not only a country where you can easily illustrate not only a collection of myths, not only divine beaches and azure coasts, it is also a historical region with its collection of food habits and principles that are recognized by modern scientists as an ideal example of a balanced diet.
It would seem that so many different countries surround the Mediterranean, what can the common eating habits of their inhabitants be like? Indeed, due to differences in religion and culture, the culinary preferences of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean vary, but there are many similarities in the menu of countries such as Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Israel, Morocco and many others. It's not for nothing that the inhabitants of the Mediterranean basin differ in a healthy way of life! The basis of their daily diet is fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, olive and rapeseed oils, fish, whole grains, pasta and wines.
In the 50-ies of the last century, American nutritionists Anselmi and Margaret Keys took up the systematization of dietary rules for Italians, Spaniards and Greeks, which resulted in the "Mediterranean diet". This nutrition system is designed for long-term use and in the future promises a slender figure, improvement of the gastrointestinal tract, lowering of cholesterol in the blood and maintaining the tone of the cardiovascular system.
The Mediterranean diet offers not to refuse dishes that are banned in many other food systems, for example, from sour-milk products, pasta, bread and wine. These products in combination with vegetables and fruits perfectly satisfy the hunger, which can not but rejoice those who during the diet try to calm the constantly rumbling stomach, and with it the obsessive thoughts about food.
As in all balanced nutrition systems, the Mediterranean diet combines fats, proteins and carbohydrates. The total amount of fats in the food is about 30%, which comes into the body mainly in the form of olive and rapeseed oil. As protein food, cheese, eggs and fish are offered, but you will have to give up meat in large quantities, but you can eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber. It is allowed to drink wine, but necessarily in moderation and only during meals, while strong spirits are advised to abstain.
This diet, based on the experience of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean, offers its approach to the daily diet. Namely, in the morning carbohydrate food is used, and in the evening – albuminous. The rational grain of this distribution lies in the fact that for a whole day the floury has time to assimilate, and the energy to use up, that is, the bread or flat cake you ate for breakfast will not be put off as extra pounds. For lunch and dinner recommend to serve any vegetables, except potatoes, homemade pasta or rice. Do not forget about olives, olives and greens, without which in the Mediterranean cuisine there is not a single dish.
Secrets of the Mediterranean diet
So, it's time to talk about the main ingredients of the Mediterranean diet used in cooking!
Vegetables. They can be eaten in any form, without fear of buying extra pounds. Ideally, you should eat about a kilogram of vegetables a day. Pay special attention to tomatoes, olives, olives, garlic and all kinds of greens, their constant use helps reduce cholesterol, prevents the appearance of cancer and vascular diseases.
Fruit. They are recommended to finish the meal, that is, eat at least three servings per day. As a dessert, you can choose grapes, pears, apples, peaches, plums or persimmons, which keeps the skin youthful and is a natural lifting! It is believed that the vitamins and trace elements contained in fruits make such desserts especially useful for women's beauty.
Dairy products. Quite actively used are yoghurts and cheeses with a low percentage of fat content such as mozzarella or feta. In the Mediterranean diet they are present as a separate dish, and as a dressing in salads and vegetable snacks.
Seafood. Sardines, mackerel, trout, tuna, lobsters, squid, mussels and scallops are the basis of Mediterranean cuisine. Fish is prepared in olive oil and served with a salad of fresh vegetables or with rice. But if flour is added to seafood, eggs or a large amount of fat, then the dish is considered spoiled!
Cereals. Bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, quality breakfast cereals or pasta from durum wheat are a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, B vitamins and magnesium. It is necessary to choose foods made from good flour, and use them only for breakfast, then they are perfectly absorbed by the body and do not affect the figure in any way.
Olive oil. High-quality olive oil of cold pressing is rich in mono-saturated oils, which reduce the amount of cholesterol-clogging artery and increase the defenses of the body. Olive oil is used for frying and as a filling of soups and salads.
Wine. In the Mediterranean diet wine stands on a special place – it is believed that dry grape wine can replace food and vitamin supplements due to the content of many sugars, vitamins and minerals that have significant biological activity.
Impact on health
Numerous medical studies conducted among residents of the Mediterranean countries have revealed that they are less prone to the risk of cardiovascular disease, since their food helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Rarely they suffer from cancer, tk. the emphasis is on complex carbohydrates, less likely to suffer from overweight, hypertension and diabetes, due to the high level of monounsaturated fats that help control blood sugar levels. Adherence to the principles of Mediterranean nutrition can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, which is due primarily to the abundant consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, dishes from cereals and a moderate amount of meat and fish.
Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet has a positive effect on the health of people who use it, namely: reducing the amount of "bad" cholesterol, strengthening immunity, reducing the risk of Parkinson's disease, increasing life expectancy, increasing resistance to chronic diseases, the body copes with depression and stress.
Dishes of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet includes the cuisine of almost every Mediterranean country, so the dishes can be offered a great variety, but we decided to dwell on several, in our opinion, deserving special attention.
Squid in red wine
6 st. l. olive oil,
2 cloves of garlic,
500 gr. peeled tomatoes,
0,5 glasses of red wine,
3 tsp finely chopped parsley,
bread with cut cakes,
2,5 cm cinnamon sticks,
Rinse thoroughly, clean and dry the squid. In a large frying pan, warm up a portion of the olive oil, add onion and garlic and fry until they become clear. Add the squid rings and cook until they have a golden hue. Put tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, cinnamon and pour in the wine. Without covering the lid, simmer on low heat until the squid becomes soft. Sprinkle the prepared dish with parsley. Cut the bread into triangles. Heat the frying pan in the pan and fry the pieces of bread from two sides to a golden color. Serve squid on plates, placing the croutons on the edges of the dish.
Pasta with fish-tomato sauce
800 gr. canned tomatoes,
3 cloves of garlic,
& frac12; heads of onions,
1 tbsp olive oil,
350 g fish with white meat,
ground black pepper.
In a frying pan, heat olive oil and butter together and fry the onions until translucent, then add the garlic and fry another 1-2 minutes. Put the canned tomatoes in a frying pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add parsley, salt and pepper. Add the fish, previously cleaned and cut into pieces of 5 cm, and cook for about 20 minutes, until the pieces are boiled into the sauce. Prepare the pasta and mix it with half the cooked sauce. Spread on plates and pour on top of another large spoon of sauce for each serving. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Cheese bread (tiropso)
250 gr. hard wheat flour,
250 gr. crumbled feta cheese,
100 ml of olive oil,
& frac12; ch.n. dried oregano;
Pour the flour into a large bowl and season with salt. Make a groove in the flour, pour the yeast there and pour in the honey, diluted in warm water. All mix and put in a warm place for 15 minutes. Add warm water to make the dough soft, but not sticky. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, then put the dough back in a bowl, tighten the top with a film and leave in a warm place until the dough rises. Take a baking tray, grease with olive oil and lay the dough, pressing with your hands so that it covers the entire surface of the baking tray. At the top, sprinkle evenly the crumbled feta cheese, then press down the cheese with your fingers. Sprinkle oregano. Well lubricate the edge of the dough with olive oil, the remaining oil pour over the top of the fetus. Put the baking tray in a warm place for 30 minutes. Then place in the oven, preheated to 250 ° C, and bake for about half an hour until golden brown.
Beauty, health, good mood and harmony are indispensable companions of the Mediterranean diet. Do you think that you will follow them along the way? Then start changing your eating habits right now, and maybe you will get a chance to conquer the azure shores of the Mediterranean!
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