Eat yourself to good health, eat the Mediterranean way
Dietitians recommend that we take five portions of fruit or vegetables each day. Seven olives count as a portion.
Switching to a healthy diet and sticking to it can be an uphill battle for many of us, but a little bit of common sense can make the change much smoother. You don’t need to change all of your habits all at once. Instead of a big bang approach from day one, you can gradually modify your heating habits, incorporating a series of healthy changes step by step. Each change you take will be a step towards a healthier lifestyle. It is never too early – or too late – to start eating well and to better your health. All you need is a little self-control and discipline.
The Mediterranean diet
Without doubt, the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world. Medical research has shown time and again that ‘eating Mediterranean’ is one of the best ways to keep ourselves healthy, and above all to prevent heart problems. The Mediterranean garden offers an almost endless spectrum of top quality produce that will entice every taste. Eating Mediterranean is a fast track way to achieve an ideal balanced diet, to enjoy your shopping, cooking and above all to enjoy eating.
Olive oil is one of the fundamental ingredients in the Mediterranean kitchen and the principal guardian of our heart and circulatory systems. Other foods also have their part to play, mainly due to the nature of the fats and oils they contain. Dried fruits and nuts and fresh fish are all rich in healthy unsaturated fats, while red meat and butter contain the less desirable saturated fats. Fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses and wheat-based products like breads and pasta fill us with all the necessary vitamins, minerals and fibre.
We can strike a healthy balance if we stick to the following formula. About half of each meal should be made up of vegetables, another third should come from carbohydrates and the remaining fifth should be protein rich foods such as meats or pulses. More elaborate meals with two courses should be planned with the same proportions in mind, with the first course being a vegetable dish.
An optimal daily food intake should contain four to six helpings of cereal products and root vegetables, two to four portions of dairy products, three pieces of fruit, two helpings of fresh vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, and three helpings of oil. We must not forget that a correct diet also means a good rehydration, so each day we should drink from two to four glasses of water.
Other foods should also be integrated into our cooking and heating habits over the week, and dietitians recommend a weekly consumption of four to six portions of beans and pulses, four to six helpings of nuts and dried fruits, three to four portions of both fresh fish and lean meat, and three to four eggs.