Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

August 16, 2021 2 By Marriam

In order to encourage lifestyle changes, Oldways a nonprofit nutrition organization developed the “Mediterranean Diet Pyramid” in 1993. The pyramid focuses on the food groups and their frequencies, how often you can eat food from certain groups without restricting anything and that’s the best thing about the Mediterranean style of eating, it gives you choices. Interestingly, the ground level of the pyramid emphasizes exercise, joyful movements and socializing over meals with friends and family.

Instead of considering exercise something strenuous that you have to go and do in a gym. Just get up the walk with family and friends. Play with children or simply dance in joyful movements. Plant-based sources of food that are arranged at the base of the Mediterranean diet pyramid give essential nutrients.  Fibre, antioxidants and immune-boosting substances. That adds to general prosperity, satiety and the upkeep of a fair eating routine. These plant-based foods can be safely devoured more often and in high amounts. And they provide protection against the risk of various chronic diseases. And are ideal for weight management.

Base of the pyramid incorporates food groups that should be made the main part of the meals. And should be consumed to provide the highest percentage of daily energy needs. Foods to be consumed in moderation are situated at the upper levels of the Mediterranean diet pyramid. Food in this level belongs to animal origin. And are high in fats and sugar. And require careful consumption in recommended proportions. The Mediterranean diet pyramid builds up every day, week by week and periodic rules for an optimal and wholesome diet.

Daily Intake

Food groupsGuidelinesServing Size (per day)
   
VegetablesCater daily needs of key nutrientsOne or two servings in one meal
 Consume a minimum of 1 raw serving in one meal per day 
CerealsConsume unrefined whole grainsOne or two servings in one meal
 Provide iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, fibre, and B vitamins 
FruitsFocus on choosing a variety of coloursOne or two servings in one meal
 Variety in colour and texture optimizes intake of different nutrients 
DairyProvide nutrients essential for strong bones. teeth, muscle growthTwo servings per day
 Source of calcium, protein and other nutrients 
 Can be consumed in the form of low-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt. 

Fluid Intake

  • Tea, coffee, green tea, fresh juices, soups and broths in addition to plain water cater the daily fluid requirements.
  • Fluid needs vary according to gender, age, physical activity and weather.
  • Average fluid needs of adult female are 2.2 liters/ day and for males it’s 2.5 liters/day
  • To be more accurate you can calculate your fluid needs with the following formula

                Fluid/day (L): Weight in kg x 0.033

Fluid intake- MDP

Essential fats

Enriched with antioxidants, olive oil is situated at the centre of the pyramid. It should make up the main source of dietary fat. It can be used for cooking and dressing. When foods are cooked in olive oil their nutrient quality is enhanced. Daily consumption of a handful of nuts and seeds make up a wholesome snack. By providing, omega 3, fibre, proteins and other nutrients.

Herbs & Spices

Herbs and spices hold their importance when it comes to cooking. Along with their nutritional value, they also add unique flavour, aroma as well as colour to foods. Therefore, they should be incorporated into cooking. They offer the following benefits:

  • Good source of antioxidants and nutrients
  • Enhance flavor and palatability
  • Reduce the need of salt in food.
erbs and spices- MDP

Weekly

Food groupsGuidelinesServing Size (per week)
   
Fish & shellfishProvides vitamin A, D and omega 3 fatty acidsTwo or more servings
White meatContains zinc, selenium, iron, and B vitamins necessary for good healthTwo servings
 Includes poultry and turkey 
EggsProvide high-quality proteinTwo to four servings
Red MeatShould be consumed in small proportions and lean cuts should be preferredLess than two servings
 Increased consumption is associated with the risk of cancer and heart diseases. 
LegumesProvide a healthy source of plant proteinMore than two servings per week
 Considered as a meat alternative 

Occasionally

Food groupsGuidelinesServing Size  
Desserts and processed foodContain unhealthy (trans) fats and are high in sugarConsume these less often
 High in calories and likely to cause weight gain 
 Include beverages, bakery items, fried foods, processed meats, cakes & pastries 

Why you Need Exercise?

Exercise is one of the most common pieces of advice offered by medics across the planet. But why physical exercise is vital for a healthy brain and body? To explain that we are going to focus on some of the direct benefits of exercise on the brain and the body. So physical exercise has been proven to have some of the following effects:

  1. Boosts the memory
  2. Physical fitness and weight loss
  3. Improves concentration and mental health
  4. Exercise improves the ability to focus on one task
  5. Physical exercise delays the onset of  mental wear-and-tear in dementia. Especially among the elderly
  6. Lower risk of developing chronic conditions such as cancer diabetes cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases
  7. Improves heart and lung health. By strengthening the heart muscle and pumps blood at the lungs which become stronger in return.  
  8. It increases muscle mass and strength
  9. Improves bone density, cholesterol levels. And reduces the risk of stroke
  10. Prevention and management of diabetes. Regular exercise can help delay or  prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by 60 %. By enhancing glucose uptake. And by increasing insulin production

Any form of physical activity that helps the body burn calories. For example, walking, cleaning, running sports is beneficial. And should be included in daily routine.