Spain is one of the countries in the Mediterranean region of the world known for its healthy Mediterranean diet. For those who only spend short periods in Spain, or don’t always eat the local food, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet and why is it so healthy?
The Mediterranean diet is the typical diet of Spain and includes lots of olive oil, fruit and vegetables, cereals, meat, fish, dairy products and seasoning and spices. Wine and other alcoholic beverages are also included in the diet.
On a typical Mediterranean diet, you do not cut your fat consumption, but just choose to eat healthy fats. If you see an average Spaniard with a bottle of olive oil, you’d be amazed how much oil, ie: fat, they add to a plate of salad, yet how healthy they still remain.
Olive oil, and thus the Mediterranean diet, as it includes so much of it, has a compound called oleocanthal. It reduces inflammation, and prevents things like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, blood clots, cancer, autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer’s. It’s no wonder Spaniards are the world’s second longest living people.
If you were on a Mediterranean diet, you would eat lots of fruit and vegetables, as well as pastas, breads and cereals. Your protein would include nuts, fish and cheese, along with smaller portions of meats, but surprisingly, quite a large intake of jamon or ham.
That the Spanish eat large amounts of food, yet still stay alive so long, is because of the healthy diet they eat, one that includes a huge variety of foods but few of which are processed.