Health Specialists recommend consuming traditional dishes albeit with controlled use of fat Posted on 21st March 2019 8 min read Not eating food at home or excess protein in diets jeopardise the very basis of the Mediterranean diet Spain has become the healthiest country in the world, as showcased in the Bloomberg Healthiest Country index, and much of the success is due to the Mediterranean diet, according to this organisation. “The reason why our diet is considered to be the healthiest worldwide”, according to Rocío Práxedes, dietitian-nutritionist from the Obesity Unit of Quirónsalud Valencia Hospital, “lies in the fat which we are renowned for, such as fat obtained from olive oil, fatty fish and nuts, as well as the proportions of food items we use to make our most traditional dishes where vegetables and legumes prevail over meat and fish.” Although introducing traditional dishes in our menu such as gazpacho, paella, escalivada or bullit help to prevent cardiovascular diseases, cancer or diabetes, the dietitian-nutritionist suggests adjusting the amount of fat that we add to each of these recipes to make them really healthy. “For example,” says the nutritionist, “when we cook a paella or any other dish that needs sofrito (sauté), we must remove fat from other meals of the day so as not to exceed the daily recommended use of four tablespoons of oil. The same applies if we prepare a Spanish omelette. We must also be careful while dressing salads and boiled dishes not to exceed that amount. More fat in the diet means more calories, and if we don’t have a very active life, it will lead to body weight gain.” A tip, the specialist suggests to place that daily amount in a glass to administer it better and if any day we need more oil in the food to sauté, choose dinner based on the oil that is still left. Pitfalls of the Mediterranean diet Although the Mediterranean diet is considered the healthiest in the world, we make many mistakes every day while cooking, shopping or eating itself. “One of the top principles of the Mediterranean diet,” says Carolina Pérez, the nutritionist at the Obesity Unit of Quirónsalud Torrevieja and Murcia hospitals “is that the family eats together and without television, to encourage talking and exchange experiences and knowledge. However, the reality is that there are no kitchens without television and routines and schedules allow sharing few family moments.” Another mainstay of its basis lies in the consumption of fruits, vegetables and greens rich in minerals, fibre, carotenoids, antioxidants and vitamins. According to the specialist, we should daily eat three pieces of fruit, a salad preferably at midday for lunch and heat-processed vegetables at night. “But unfortunately there are already many young people and children who do not meet these health standards for lack of example in their homes,” remarks the nutritionist. The excessive consumption of protein is another mistake. “It seems that if we do not eat meat every day, we are not well fed,” cautions the specialist, “while it is nutritionally recommended to have twice weekly. We must remember that excess animal protein acidifies our body and promotes the occurrence of diseases, especially if they are processed meat products.” Finally, the nutritionist advises healthy hydration throughout the day with a minimum daily intake of one and a half litres of water. “But increasingly we drink less water, or what is worse, we replace it with sugar-rich juices or carbonated soft drinks,” she concludes. About Quirónsalud Quirónsalud is the largest hospital group in Spain and the third largest in Europe. The group has more than 35,000 employees in 120 plus healthcare facilities, including 45 hospitals with 6,800 hospital beds. It employs the most advanced technology and a large team of highly specialised and internationally renowned professionals. Some of its facilities include Teknon Medical Centre, Ruber International, Quirónsalud Madrid University Hospital, Jiménez Díaz Foundation, Quirónsalud Barcelona Hospital, Dexeus University Hospital, Gipuzkoa Policlinic, etc. The Group strives for the promotion of teaching (eight of its hospitals are university hospitals) and medical and scientific research (it has a Healthcare Research Institute under FJD, the only private research centre accredited by the State Secretariat for Research, Development and Innovation). Likewise, its care service is organised in transversal units and networks that allows optimising the experience gained at various facilities and translating its research into clinical practice. Currently, Quirónsalud is developing more than 1,600 research projects across Spain, and many of its facilities play a leading role in this area and are pioneers in different specialities such as oncology, cardiology, endocrinology, gynaecology, and neurology, among others.