The Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
The other day, I ate at a small Moroccan restaurant, Au couscous bistro. The dishes were so delicious that they inspired me to write this article about Mediterranean food. What are the benefits of this exotic cuisine? According to several studies, it reduces risks of heart disease, stress, cancers, and cholesterol. Surprising, isn’t it?
Analysis of the Mediterranean diet
Inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries (Tunisia, Morocco, Greece, Turkey, Algeria, etc.) eat a wide variety of foods. Here are a few:
· Grain products, mainly whole-grain: bread, pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, polenta (a biscuit made from corn semolina), etc.;
· An abundance of fruit and vegetables. They contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre, which help maintain a healthy weight and prevent certain types of cancer;
· Plant protein sources: legumes (chickpeas, red beans, lentils, etc.), which are rich in soluble fibre and low in saturated fats, help reduce cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds also contain a lot of good fats!;
· Olive oil, which contains monounsaturated fats known for reducing “bad” cholesterol;
· Cheese and yogurt… think feta cheese and Greek yogurt!;
· Eggs, poultry, and fatty fish. They provide, among other things, omega-3 fats that help the heart function properly;
· Little red meat, and consequently, less saturated fat. These fats increase the risks of heart attacks and strokes, so we want to limit them as much as possible!
I think that the best feature of the Mediterranean diet is the importance given to mealtime itself: the inhabitants of these countries take the time to eat, to share a moment with family and friends. It is probably a habit that we, in Quebec, should adopt more often! Not only to build better relationships with our relatives, but also to relax, evacuate stress, and stop for a moment to enjoy food. Because this is also part of a good lifestyle!
By Vanessa Martin