If you eat according to the typical American diet, your meals probably include a lot of red meat, fast food, fried food and carbohydrates. But is this the best diet for your health?
Many experts, such as Ramón Estruch of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, say that another diet, the Mediterranean Diet, is one of the best in the world. In fact, UNESCO declared it an Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2010.
More than just a way of eating, the Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle that is practiced in countries along the Mediterranean. Putting aside social and cultural aspects, the foods that are central to this diet are vegetables, fruit, fish, cheese, wine and, of course, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is its fundamental pillar, as shown in its food pyramid.
Source: Fundación Dieta Mediterránea.
The main characteristic of the Mediterranean Diet is the consumption of olive oil as an essential fat, counting for up to 17-25% of calories. Apart from its benefits in regards to fatty acids, the use of olive oil is associated with a high consumption of vegetables because of its use as a dressing for salads, vegetables and cooked legumes.
- Olive oil is used daily in Mediterranean countries in stews, fried food, salads and even desserts.
- Virgin olive oil contains vitamin E, which is important for its antioxidant properties. It is also rich in phenols, the substance that makes it such a significant source of antioxidants.
Even though the health effects of olive oil were not known for much of history, the Mediterranean people have always pointed to the diet – especially olive oil and wine – as the reason behind their population’s longevity. In fact, Spain not only boasts high quality Olive Oil, but also the longest life expectancy in all of Europe at 82.2 years, according to the WHO, thanks in large part to the Mediterranean Diet and lifestyle.
If you want to change your lifestyle and improve your health, you can start by consuming more Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain, a country which exports the most “liquid gold” and whose products are of maximum quality. With so many flavors and subtleties, there is a variety of olive oil to go with whichever recipe you want to make.