UNEATLANTICO study reveals little known factors of the Mediterranean diet and its impact on health

18 Apr 2024
UNEATLANTICO study reveals little known factors of the Mediterranean diet and its impact on health

A researcher from the European University of the Atlantic (UNEATLANTICO) collaborates in a study that addresses underestimated aspects of the Mediterranean diet for healthier eating.

The popularity of the Mediterranean diet has grown exponentially in recent decades, attracted as much by its proven health benefits as by its exquisite taste. Numerous studies have explored the effects of this type of eating pattern on human health, and the results have been consistently positive. However, what characteristics truly define the Mediterranean diet?

This diet is known for its high consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil and a low intake of red meat and refined processed foods. But, there are other elements that are part of the dietary tradition that are often overlooked. One of the most underestimated aspects is the consumption of whole grains. Although foods derived from wheat, such as bread, pasta and rice, are considered the basis of the Mediterranean diet, it is essential to consider consuming whole grains. Whole grains offer more fiber, nutrients and phytochemicals that contribute to well-being and prevent diseases.

Another underestimated factor is the inclusion of legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. These foods are often associated with a vegetarian diet, yet they are essential in the Mediterranean tradition. Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and beans are rich sources of vegetable protein, fiber and minerals. While nuts and seeds have healthy fats, protein, fiber and are ideal for controlling blood cholesterol levels.

In addition, research showed that eggs and dairy products play an important role in this diet, as the inhabitants of Mediterranean regions consumed eggs and dairy products on a regular basis along with their other foods.

Finally, it is also important to address food cooking methods. Most recipes include simmering, roasting and steaming, which stand out for their simplicity and maintenance of the original flavors and nutrients. These methods avoid the excessive use of oils, frying and other processes that could deteriorate the quality of the food. Likewise, the authentic Mediterranean diet involves local and sustainable food production, using more natural preservation methods such as fermentation. These elements guarantee a smaller environmental footprint and a greater connection with the territory.