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The Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is more than a diet. It is, like its ancient meaning, a life style. The Mediterranean diet is typical of the countries of the Mediterranean Basin, especially Greece, Italy, Spain, Southern France, Northern Africa. The dietary traditions of these countries are varied, healthy and closely linked to their agricultural and climatic conditions. The Mediterranean diet is popular because the people who live in these countries have a very small rate of deaths from cancer and cardiovascular disease, thanks to a diet can help: reduce risks of cancer, prevent diabetes, improve arthritis, protect against heart disease, help people with Alzheimer’s disease live longer, extend life. It is the practical example of the new food pyramid and it respects the guidelines recommended for healthy eating. The food pyramid of the Mediterranean diet recommended to consume:

• every day products derived from cereals (such as bread, pasta, rice, polenta, couscous), fruit, vegetables and legumes, olive oil, milk and dairy products;
• 3 or 4 times a week eggs, white meat, fish and sweets;
• limit to a few times per month the consumption of red meat;
• every day you have to drink at least 8 glasses of water;
• are also recommended 1 or 2 glasses of wine, preferably red.
Despite its name, this diet is not typical of all Mediterranean cuisine. In Northern Italy, for instance, lard and butter are commonly used in cooking, and olive oil is reserved for dressing salads and cooked vegetables. In North Africa wine is traditionally avoided by Muslims.

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