Establish a dietary guide for the population must respect principles established by health authorities such as the World Health Organization, these principles include the following: Dietary guidelines based on food should be developed within a cultural context, recognizing social, economic and environmental aspects. It must be taken into account that there is no single ideal diet, but that many types of diets and dietary models are suitable for good health. It is necessary to reflect dietary models or eating patterns rather than numerical objectives.
Dietary advice should be expressed in a positive way, encouraging the enjoyment of appropriate intakes. It is necessary to assess the different public health objectives that at that time are considered priorities to determine the relevance of the dietary guidelines that are advocated. The Mediterranean diet is a nutritional pattern of all the Mediterranean countries and that many scientific studies recommend adopting for the benefit of our health. It is a balanced combination of fresh local products from the Mediterranean and seasonal. The term “Mediterranean diet” was originally described in the 1950s by Ancel Keys and popularized after finishing the study of 7 countries (Finland, Japan, Greece, Italy, Holland, Yugoslavia and United States of America) in a sample of 12,000 patients from 40 to 60 years old. The term was coined to reflect the similarity in the conditions of certain countries, they shared the same low rates of chronic diseases, cardiovascular and high life expectancy, and in addition to all that, they corresponded to the same geographical area in particular.
The Mediterranean diet is characterized by:
The abundance of bread, pasta, vegetables, fruits and nuts.
Use of olive oil.
Limited consumption of red meat.
Moderate consumption of fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs and wine.
It is precisely these characteristics by which this traditional diet protects those who practice it against chronic diseases. Also the results of several studies have highlighted the benefits of this diet on mortality, especially those from cardiovascular problems. The Mediterranean diet can protect us from cardiovascular diseases through other mechanisms, for example: an improvement in the lipid profile and blood pressure, an increase in insulin sensitivity or an improvement in endothelial function.
Several of the benefits provided by the Mediterranean diet are attributed to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and various antioxidants. Olive oil is one of the most emblematic ingredients of both this diet and its contributions to the health of our body. The consumption of this oil reduces the risk of coronary diseases, and efficiently contributes to problems of arterial pressure, hemostasis or thermogenesis. Although no one denies the negative effects of excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages on health and other aspects of our lives, several recent studies show that moderate alcohol consumption protects our cardiovascular system and reduces the risk of other complications such as peripheral arterial disease. The positive effects of alcohol on our organism are directly due to its ethanol content, in the case of wine it would be due to its high polyphenol content.
The nuts are rich and abundant of many components that after several studies show their contribution against the risk of coronary diseases. It is recommended to eat nuts around 5 times a week, although there is concern that the high caloric value of nuts could cause an increase in body weight for those who do not know how to control their consumption. There is not a considerable amount of scientific studies that analyze the relationship between the consumption of nuts and the risk of cancer, the results of the few studies conducted indicate that they produce a protective effect against cancer of the colon, rectum and prostate. The cereals that make up the Mediterranean diet provide 50% energy and another 50% protein that our bodies need. They are a large source of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus. Those who consume the cereals present in this diet have an increased risk of coronary or cardiovascular diseases, thanks to the phytoestrogens they contain. Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, beans and peas have a lot of protein, much more than the same cereals. Its vegetable origin of carbohydrates and proteins provide a very good amount of niacin, fiber and folic acid, as well as phytosterols and isoflavones. All this favors the fight against a great variety of chronic diseases, contributes to level the cholesterol.
Milk and fermented milk are rich in proteins, mineral salts and lipids, the main milk sugar is lactose but in fermented milk the amount is lower because the bacteria transform sugar into lactic acid. The bioavailability of these minerals makes their consumption essential for the prevention of osteoporosis and as a source of vitamin D. In adolescents the consumption of foods such as those that combine the Mediterranean diet is very important, especially because from the medical point of view, adolescence is a critical stage for the human being due to the accelerated development of the whole body. Consuming a diet as it is from children makes people grow with greater vitality and better prepared to fight against all possible future affectations.
The medicine shows with evidences of different epidemiological studies that the Mediterranean region has configured an advisable feeding style for all people thanks to its healthy diet. Although the pattern of Mediterranean food varies a little between the different countries that make up the region that does not transform their properties or their health-promoting style. Currently, Mediterranean food is being known around the world for its proven benefits against diseases. There are studies that indicate that the benefits of the Mediterranean diet are replicable in countries outside the Mediterranean basin, as in Chile for example. We can not fall into the error of thinking that the Mediterranean diet is the only model of healthy eating. In general, diets rich in fruits, vegetables and low in meats, cereal, saturated fats, sugar and salt are equally healthy because they produce a lower risk of major degenerative diseases.