Studies have shown that people who live around the Mediterranean Sea live longer than Americans and north Europeans because of the Mediterranean Diet and the Mediterranean way of life. So, in recent years, more and more people choose the Mediterranean diet in order to have a longer and healthier life.
The term Mediterranean Diet was invented in order to describe the eating habits of the Mediterranean countries (Italy, Greece and Spain). The true Mediterranean Diet is based on the dietary traditions of Crete and southern Italy and is graphically presented with a pyramid that shows the required food quantities on a monthly, weekly and daily basis.
In more detail, traditional Mediterranean Diet has the following characteristics.
1. High content of monounsaturated fatty acids and low saturated fat content. More specifically, foods that are recommended on a daily basis are legumes, pasta, bread, fruit and vegetables..
2. Medium to low fish consumption
3. Low red meat consumption
4. Low to moderate consumption of dairy products
50-60% of the energy that every human needs in a daily basis, should come from carbohydrates (except from those that suffer from specific diseases). Pasta, rice, legumes, vegetables fruits and bread are the main sources of carbohydrates. All these consist the base of the Mediterranean pyramid and should be consumed on a daily basis.
Taking into consideration all the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet but also the requirements of the modern lifestyle, we created Kapasta meals which offer all the benefits of Mediterranean Diet in a few minutes. With 100% natural ingredients, without preservatives and chemical additives. Our main concern is to cover as many daily needs as possible on the main food categories of the pyramid’s base, which are pasta, legumes and vegetables.
Pasta is a food rich in complex carbohydrates, iron, proteins, calcium and B vitamins. Proteins contained in pasta are high quality and easily digestible making it an ideal meal for children and older people who have need of high quality protein. Carbohydrates contained in pasta is the main energy source for the human body. Slow combustion of complex carbohydrates keeps this energy for a long time so we do not have the feeling of hunger.
Pasta contains the required quantities needed on a daily basis by our body in manganese, important for the regulation of blood sugar, as well as folic acid (Vitamin B9) really important for pregnant women. Pasta also contains phytosterols that help reduce blood cholesterol naturally. Finally, pasta is a great source of calcium.
Rice is in the same category as pasta and its nutritional value is very important. It is easily digestible and can be consumed by everyone. It does not contain cholesterol, salt or fat and accompanying pasta is the base of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. Rice is rich in vitamin D, E, folic acid, calcium, iron, riboflavin and fibers. It contains potassium which helps the nervous system, magnesium that is a component of teeth and bones and iron which is important for the synthesis of hemoglobin.
Even though it is believed that pasta and rice are fattening, in fact this is not true. They both belong at the base of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid and a consumption in moderation cause no harm neither in our health nor in our appearance. This means that we can consume them 2-3 times per week either alone or accompanying protein food.
What is more important about pasta and rice is the way of cooking. Avoiding fats such as cream and adding vegetables such as tomatoes, mushrooms, onion or garlic, transform our dish into a healthy meal.
Studies have shown that tomatoes, which contain lycopene, can reduce the likelihood of some forms of cancer. The more the tomatoes are dried, the more lycopene is released. So, either raw or dried, tomatoes protect us against many forms of cancer and that is why tomato is considered as one of the most important vegetable of Mediterranean Diet.Onion and garlic have the ability to suppress carcinogens due to organic sulfur compounds.
Onion is rich in flavonoids that belong to the category of antioxidant compounds that protect the DNA of cells from the free radicals of oxygen. Also flavonols have beneficial health effects such as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and antithrombotic. It should be noted that the synergy of tomato, onion and garlic seems to have anti-cancer properties.
Their properties and benefits vary from bone strengthening to lowering cholesterol levels. They are high in vitamins, protein, amino acids and minerals. In particular, they reduce the likelihood of breast and prostate cancer because they contain beta-glucans and linoleic acid which have anti-cancer activity. It is an ideal food for those suffering from diabetes because they contain enzymes that help break down sugar and food starch. They strengthen our immune system as they contain antibiotics similar to penicillin. Finally, mushrooms are the second most nutritious food in vitamin D. It contains calcium, iron, potassium, copper and selenium. Mushrooms are called the meat of the vegetarians and they perfectly accompany the pasta and the rice. They are undoubtedly a completely nutritious and tasty food with a prominent position in the Mediterranean Diet.
The Mediterranean Diet is a gift to ourselves. If we manage to integrate the Mediterranean Diet into our lives we will have all the benefits it offers to our health. At the same time it is tasty, economical and easily accessible to the modern man.