WHY TALK ABOUT A
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
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
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
- 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
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.
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
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.