The healthy Mediterranean cuisine

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Fruit, vegetables, olive oil: the healthy Mediterranean cuisine

Plenty of vegetables, fresh fish, tasty spices, olive oil and finally fruit: Mediterranean cuisine is so varied and healthy. Nutrition expert Marianne Rudischer gives interesting tips and explanations.

Eating like on vacation It will soon be time again and the holiday season is driving thousands of people to southern Europe. You can treat yourself to a tasty foretaste with Mediterranean food. This is also good for your health, as the traditional Mediterranean food consists of starchy and high-fiber foods and at the same time they are rich in vitamins and minerals. It also prevents overweight and promotes digestion. Scientific studies have shown that Mediterranean cuisine can also help to keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. The nutritional medical consultant at Barmer GEK in Wuppertal, Ms. Marianne Rudischer, and Prof. Dietrich Baumgart, preventive medicine doctor from Düsseldorf, provide valuable tips on Mediterranean cuisine.

What is traditional Mediterranean food? Rudischer explains: “It mainly consists of plant foods, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, lots of fish and little meat. Olive oil is used instead of animal fats such as butter, cream or lard. ”Fresh herbs such as sage, thyme, rosemary and basil are used for seasoning. "Mediterranean food does not mean Italian lasagna or Greek meat platter!"

Why is Mediterranean cuisine so healthy? The doctor Baumgart points to the preventive effect of eating: “A study has just been published that shows that Mediterranean cuisine with olive oil and nuts protects even better against heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular diseases than a low-fat diet. In addition to regular exercise and not smoking, the Mediterranean diet can also do a lot to prevent type 2 diabetes. ”And further:“ It protects the heart and blood vessels and also has a positive effect on the risk of cancer. ”A few years ago A team of researchers led by Demosthenes Panagiotakos from Harokopio University in Athens found out in a comprehensive meta-study that Mediterranean nutrition has positive effects on the metabolism and can prevent cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks.

Vegetables as a main component of eating Mediterranean meals are often based on fresh vegetables as a main component. Rudischer explains: "It contains many vitamins, secondary plant or vital substances with their health-promoting effects." She advises: "Do not cook the vegetables in water, but steam or steam them with a little liquid. Don't just prepare the spaghetti al dente. Vegetables should also be firm to the bite! ”If a wok is available, you can also cook vegetables completely fat-free. The basic principle was: “Do not overheat vegetables. Then the valuable ingredients are preserved. ”(Sb)

Fruit as a dessert Fresh fruit is healthy, it contains a lot of vitamins, fiber and minerals. The Berlin Consumer Initiative advises "to enrich every meal with fruit or vegetables". Fruit forms the end of a meal in traditional Mediterranean cuisine, "and not, as with us, the mousse au chocolat," says Ms. Rudischer.

Cold-pressed olive oil not for frying
The risk of a stroke is significantly reduced by the regular consumption of olive oil. This is the conclusion reached by French researchers from the University of Bordeaux in a comprehensive study with more than 7,600 participants. The preventive medical specialist Dietrich Baumgart from Düsseldorf informs: "Cold-pressed olive oil lowers the harmful LDL cholesterol in the blood and prevents the development of cell-damaging free radicals." It also contains a lot of vitamin E and secondary plant substances, "which have a positive effect on the whole body" . Another component of the Mediterranean cuisine with a positive health aspect is fish. It doesn't necessarily have to be Mediterranean fish. Baumgart recommends: “High-fat fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These lower blood pressure and protect the walls of the blood vessels. ”Marianne Rudischer adds that they eat these fatty fish alternating with lean ones,“ such as pikeperch and cod ”. She advises: “Prepare fish with a little vegetable oil. Please don't bread or fry! Fry at moderate, medium temperatures. Then you can get by with little fat. Do not use cold-pressed oils for frying or do not heat them up high, because "High temperatures change the taste and destroy important components of the oil." It is best to use tasteless oil for frying fish or meat. "It doesn't have to be olive oil. It can also be sunflower oil, corn oil or rapeseed oil. They are also good suppliers of vitamin E and omega-3. ”

Reluctance to eat carbohydrates Bread is also eaten with many meals around the Mediterranean, but usually without toppings, such as with a thick layer of butter in Germany. Pasta, rice, potatoes, millet and bulgur as well as corn grits in the form of polenta and couscous are also part of the Mediterranean cuisine, "but that should be seen as a side dish and use more fresh vegetables," says Rudischer.

Think global - act local There are many reasons to use local products when buying food. It is good for the global environment if goods do not always have to be transported over long distances and generally also tastier products. The nutrition expert advises: “When shopping, you should pay more attention to regional fruits and vegetables that have been harvested ripe. Because the vitamins and secondary plant substances, such as the aroma substances, only develop in the ripening process of the fruit or vegetables! ”So the taste only comes with the appropriate ripeness. "You can test this wonderfully with tomatoes." She also advises to buy fruits and vegetables of the respective season. “You also get strawberries from Morocco at Christmas. Often, however, such fruit is harvested unripe so that it can survive the long transport route. Another example: rock-hard pears that have no taste. “You can often find something right at an organic farm near you. "And of course the conventionally working farmer can also offer very good products in the surrounding area." (Sb)

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