Mediterranean Diet

Think Western food and what comes to mind is usually steak, pasta, pizza or grills. What is less common in Malaysia are food choices from the Mediterranean nations such as Europe and some parts of Africa and Asia.

Although each nation would have their own specialties, a typical Mediterranean platter would contain lots of legumes such as beans and peas, dried and fresh fruits, fish or seafood.

Olive oil is used liberally in salads and wine is commonly the beverage of choice with meals. The main source of energy-giving carbohydrates is from bread such as pita, pasta and potatoes, while nuts and seeds are the most common snacks.

Dairy products such as cheese and yoghurts are also favoured, with a bewildering array served each time. The cheeses are flavourful and delectable, providing a moist and savoury touch to an otherwise dry meal.

EATING STYLE

Food portions are usually small, and emphasis is placed on freshness as fruits and vegetables are a major aspect of the Mediterranean diet. A lot of attention is paid to food presentation and the pleasure of eating, with the philosophy that food is supposed to feed all the senses, not just the stomach.

BENEFITS

  • High levels of antioxidants believed to prevent depression, cancer, heart disease, hypertension
  • Protects against skin cancer
  • Keeps brain healthy, preventing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Reduces risk of diabetes
  • Easier to control weight and less likely to develop obesity
  • Convenient and easy to prepare

PITFALLS

  • High cost due to rising costs of seafood and olive oil
  • No definite portion sizes

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