We talk about the Atlantic diet, what it is based on, what are its benefits. Does it have advantages over the famous Mediterranean diet?
Surely you have all heard of the Mediterranean diet on more than one occasion, considered a world heritage site and recognized as a healthy and balanced diet, but have you heard of the Atlantic diet?
It is not surprising that in the past, when the conservation and transport of fresh food was unthinkable, the diet was intimately linked to the environment and its main base was seasonal and local products.
The Atlantic diet is based precisely on that, on the diet traditionally followed by populations located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, based on land and sea products, which for about 15 years has been widely studied by the Foundation of the Atlantic Diet that depends on the University of Santiago de Compostela.
What is the Atlantic diet?
Like the Mediterranean diet, it is a healthy and balanced diet that includes foods from all the food groups and that provides all the necessary nutrients for our body.
The Atlantic diet is based on:
· Consume fruits and vegetables in season in abundance for their contribution in antioxidants and phytochemicals with additional antioxidant potential. Of the vegetables the most common are those of the Brassica genus such as cabbage, collard greens, turnip greens or turnip greens, as well as others such as beans, carrots, onions and peppers.
· Consume cereals, potatoes and legumes, being preferable breads made with whole wheat flour and boiled potatoes, which provide complex carbohydrates and fiber.
· Consumption of fish (sea and river) and shellfish (molluscs and crustaceans) at least 3 or 4 times a week. This is one of the pillars of the Atlantic diet. They provide proteins of high biological value, omega -3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium (small fish eaten with bones or canned fish) and trace elements.
· Consume dairy products daily. They provide proteins of high biological value, minerals (calcium or phosphorus) and vitamins. Dairy products can be fresh -milk- or fermented -yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese-.
· The meat should be eaten in moderation. Mainly lean meats accompanied by vegetables, legumes or potatoes
· Drink lots of fluids, mainly water. A moderate consumption of wine is also important, which must always be with meals.
· Dress and cook food with extra virgin olive oil.
· Opt for simplicity when cooking food to maintain the quality of the raw materials and, therefore, the nutritional value. The recommended cooking grilled or barbecued and stewed rather than fried or breaded that distort the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of raw materials from the Atlantic diet. As the chefs say, I respect the raw material.
· Do physical activity every day, as it is just as important as eating properly. The Atlantic population structure, with a high degree of dispersion -the typical villages of few houses separated by several kilometers-, together with the traditionally Atlantic type of professional activity -fishing, agriculture- favors the maintenance of a daily activity of great benefit to health. The Atlantic, terrestrial and maritime nature, allows the development of leisure activities that favor physical activity.
Benefits of the Atlantic diet
Studies carried out by the University of Santiago in recent years have shown that the traditional diet in southern Atlantic Europe -Galicia and Portugal- can help protect the heart.
Residents of these geographic areas have very low death rates due to cardiovascular disease. In fact, the death rates from heart disease in these regions are similar to those of France, Italy and Greece, where the inhabitants tend to follow a Mediterranean-style diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains and nuts.
A recent study also considers it a good diet to combat obesity as it reduces body fat and cholesterol.
And while more research is still needed on the effects on the benefits of this diet to combat other major diseases, such as stroke, and some types of cancer, for now, the results are showing great promise.
In short, it is not that it has more benefits than the Mediterranean diet, but it is another diet option to follow within a healthy framework.
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