Maybe when you think about Mediterranean food salads and hummus come to your mind. But the cuisine of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea is much more than this. It is an extremely diverse diet, considering that from Egypt to Spain, passing through Italy or Turkey, all these countries culturally similar but very different, share the Mediterranean diet.
For example, countries from Europe such as Greece, Italy and Spain, have more similarities; in the other hand North African countries, such as Algeria, Libya and Morocco share more ingredients and cooking styles.
The region of Middle Eastern countries, such as Lebanon, Syria and Turkey is rich in a wide variety of ingredients and spices, that Spain or Italy doesn’t have.
So what is considered a Mediterranean diet?
We consider Mediterranean diet to the type of ingredients with respect to its origin, as well as the general style of cooking. The food of the Mediterranean region is prepared with fresh, healthy ingredients that are actually good for you, like legumes or vegetables, and in smaller quantity or from time to time, foods like meats or sweets.
In fact, it is this perfect marriage of taste and nutrition that has made Mediterranean food so popular throughout the world.
For centuries, the residents of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea have enjoyed a lower risk of certain cancers, reduced risk of developing heart disease and increased longevity overall.
In addition to the diet itself, daily exercise such as walking or riding a bike, is part of the daily life of the habitants of the Mediterranean.
The secret really lies in the balance between all these factors. As we said, the ingredients or foods chosen as the basis of the diet are proteins such as chicken, vegetables and fresh fruit. Little processed food, such as pastries or precooked food, and a limit on the intake of red meats.
Regarding the style of cooking, in the Mediterranean countries it tends to be cooked with olive oil, one of the healthiest fats in the world. It is not usually to cook with butter or other types of oils, which have no nutrients and are also bad for our health.
In addition, although frying is part of the cooking style, it is not the main one, since many of the best-known dishes of this diet is eaten directly fresh, or use techniques such as stew, griddle or oven, which help reduce the final amount of fat.
Other alternative methods of “cooking” widespread and common in the Mediterranean are seasoning or preserves, as in the case of olives, jams, cheese in oil, sausages or salted. They are ways to preserve food longer in a natural and traditional way.
Vegetables or fruits such as olives are really tasty and provide little fat
Another clear example of how the Mediterranean diet is lived is the time to have a snack. In countries with a Mediterranean diet, people tend to eat things like cold meat, vegetables or fruits such as olives, which are really tasty and provide little fat. Olives are the other great representative of Mediterranean food and something so common in the Mediterranean diet as “appetizer”. As it is said in Spain, the olive is “the queen of tapas”. So as you can see, even when it comes to snacks, the Mediterranean diet tends to seek balance.
It’s an art to eat Healthy, and the Mediterranean Diet knows how to do it.