Mediterranean diet

To speak of a Mediterranean diet is to speak of one of the most studied eating styles ever and, according to the Secretary-General of the Portuguese Nutrition Association, Helena Real, one of the healthiest. In this dietary pattern there is room for many plant foods such as “vegetables, fruit, whole grains, leguminous, herbs, oleaginous fruits” but also for some animal products such as “meat, fish and eggs” and olive oil is “the fat of choice”, explains Helena Real. With food groups so varied the keyword is moderation. “We have to think of a very characteristic term of the Mediterranean diet that is frugality. We have to eat in moderation, according to what will be the needs of each person,” says the nutritionist. The Mediterranean diet – which in 2013 was considered an Intangible World Heritage Site – is generally associated with a decreased risk of developing “cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes,” said Helena Real. But the health impacts of this diet are not over here. The expert adds that the benefits of this dietary pattern on the issue of “neurodegenerative diseases and as being protective of many cancers” are also much discussed today. Helena Real is peremptory: “If we follow the guidelines of a Mediterranean diet we will be more environmentally friendly.” And why? “Because we are going to waste less food, the use of food itself is more conscious and so we also reduce our own food waste,” says the nutritionist. Choosing “fresh and seasonal” food products is critical to consuming the right product at the right time of year. In addition, Helena Real recommends the consumption of local products and a focus on proximity agriculture: “We are promoting short food circulation cycles, ie the time and the number of kilometers to our plate”. When it comes to handing the pots and pans, it is best to choose simple and colorful dishes: “It is important to imagine, not to be afraid to cook or to combine several foods in one cooking. Very colorful culinary confections. The stews and the breadboards.”  Sara Beatriz Monteiro/TSF

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