The Mediterranean diet is known all over the world for its great nutritional properties and for the benefits it undoubtedly brings to the body. But this is not limited to a simple diet plan, it is much more: the Mediterranean diet is in fact a real eating style, composed of rules and habits inspired by the ancient Mediterranean tradition.
The Mediterranean diet owes its effectiveness to the prevalence of food-borne foods compared to those of the animal type, as well as to the abundance of seasonal fruits, cereals, and legumes, rich in fiber, vitamins, and mineral salts, and antioxidants. Another key element of this diet is undoubtedly olive oil, used as a condiment instead of sauces and foods rich in animal fats.
More cheese in the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet represents a lifestyle that is in line with the traditional eating patterns presented in the 50s in certain countries of the Mediterranean basin, such as southern Italy, France, Spain, and Greece. This diet recognized as a protected asset by UNESCO, in 2010, was included in the list of intangible and oral heritage of humanity.
It foresees, first of all, a significant physical activity, then, the diet is based on foods whose consumption was customary in the aforementioned countries such as fruits, cereals, vegetables, olive oil, and seeds; then we see a rarer consumption of red meats and moderate consumption of white meat, fish, legumes, dairy products, eggs, sweets, and red wine. Through these foods, the diet will be rich in nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, fiber, polyphenols, and omega-3.
Many benefits for our health
Let’s start by saying that the food components of the diet were different in the various Mediterranean countries, therefore, we must point out that the initial interest was to reduce the onset of cardiovascular diseases, quite frequent, especially in the United States but also in all industrialized countries. In this sense, many researches done in various countries affirm that the Mediterranean diet is able to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases, promoting longevity.
The Mediterranean diet, in fact, if followed carefully would reduce inflammation, with significant improvements in blood pressure, blood lipid profiles, and insulin sensitivity; in addition, it would reduce oxidative stress and counteract atherosclerosis. Obviously, we would like to point out that the Mediterranean diet certainly does not solve all health problems.
More dairy products for us
The traditional Mediterranean diet recommends adults one/two servings of dairy products a day, for an estimated amount of calcium between 700 and 820 milligrams.
The diet, however, does not meet some dietary guidelines issued by various countries regarding, in fact, dairy products and calcium intake in adults, so two to four servings a day of dairy products would be indispensable for a calcium intake ranging from 1000 to 1300 milligrams daily.
Until not too long ago it was not sure if an increase in dairy products within the Mediterranean diet would compromise its cardiovascular benefits, despite knowing that the consumption of dairy products can improve markers of cardiovascular diseases and the analyzes had found neutral and even favorable associations between dairy intake and cardiovascular outcomes.
The health benefits and properties
Dairy products provide our body with calcium, proteins, vitamins A, D, and group B, and minerals such as phosphorus, iodine, and zinc. These elements materialize by strengthening the bones, helping to lower cholesterol, and regulating blood pressure, without counting on the intrinsic happiness that produces us to consume them.
Cheese goes a little further because it contains essential amino acids, more protein than milk, folic acid, and the beneficial effects of microorganisms that appear in fermentation processes. In the case of cured goat cheeses, they also contain linoleic acids such as Cured Goat Cheese or Semi-Cured “Los Cameros”-D.O.P. Camerano Cheese. For these reasons, they are especially beneficial at certain stages of life such as breastfeeding or menopause.
As an aperitif, between meals, or as an indispensable ingredient in an endless number of sweet and savory recipes, cheese is synonymous with gastronomic pleasure and health since the dawn of time, as its presence in the Mediterranean diet has shown. Well-being, in capital letters, for the body and the soul.
Dairy products provide us with: proteins, vitamins, and calcium
Dairy is one of the main food groups because it provides us, in addition to proteins and vitamins, the essential calcium that our body needs to replenish in its bone system at any stage of human life.
They help children grow. For pregnant women, they are a contribution to completing their gestation. For the elderly and during the climacteric stage, they serve to replenish calcium and prevent osteoporosis.
We can take this food group in different ways. Either by consuming milk directly or through its derivatives. Luckily, fresh cheeses and yogurts integrate perfectly with many succulent dishes, allowing you to enjoy a balanced and healthy diet.
Thus, there are multiple recipes in which you can include fresh cheese, mozzarella, burrata, or yogurt. A simple but delightful tomato salad seasoned with salt and olive oil is a great way to start a summer meal. Also, cold soups, with summer vegetables such as cucumber, are perfectly associated with natural yogurt.
In addition, we can enjoy more elaborate recipes in which yogurt or cream becomes the basis for making delicious fresh sauces with which to season meat or fish.
We can also consume them in desserts. Exquisite and multiple are the combinations applicable to all kinds of recipes: in the company of honey, natural jams, fresh fruit, or nuts.