Proteins in the Mediterranean Diet: 8 things to know

Proteins in the Mediterranean Diet: 8 things to know

Proteins in the Mediterranean diet is a book designed for our well-being, without giving up traditional tastes, extraordinarily varied and complete, and to help spread messages based on the rigor of science in the debate on nutrition.

THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET: A “BALANCED” DIETARY MODEL THAT DOES NOT EXCLUDE ANYTHING

Let’s dispel a myth: the Mediterranean diet is, in all respects, a varied and balanced dietary model in terms of quantity and energy density of foods.
It is a diet that includes foods of plant and animal origin. In short, it is not a rigid and unique nutritional model but, rather, the combination of different dietary habits historically followed in the countries of the Mediterranean basin.

A WINNING MODEL WHICH, BUT WE ITALIANS ARE ABANDONNING (UNFORTUNATELY)

According to a study by CREA Alimenti e Nutrizione, published in the scientific journal “Frontiers in Nutrition” and based on a sample of 2869 people, in Italy only a minority percentage of the population today follows the principles of the Mediterranean diet. 13% to be precise, with strong geographical divides.

READ ALSO: The Mediterranean diet is the best of all

PROTEINS ARE RELATED TO LONGEVITY

Proteins have a fundamental plastic function: they build, repair and maintain the well-being of cells and tissues which, also thanks to them, are constantly replaced.
There is a clear connection between protein consumption and health and, specifically, between protein consumption and overall survival.
There is scientific evidence showing that increased protein intake may be inversely associated with mortality. In particular, in the over 60s thanks to their protective effects on muscle strength, fragility and immune responses. Analyzing the data, these statements are not generalizable to all protein sources.

READ ALSO: Those who follow the Mediterranean diet live longer

PROTEINS CONTRAST MUSCLE AGING AND SARCOPENIA IN THE SENIOR AGE (AND HELP US LIVE BETTER FOR LONGER)

Muscles account for 40% of our body weight (unless their mass increases with training) and we have more than 600 of them. Aging is physiologically associated with a reduction in muscle mass: after the age of 40 the loss rate is estimated at around 8% every ten years, while after the age of 70 the rate rises to 15% per decade. Beyond the physiological context, there are factors that accelerate the progressive and generalized loss of muscle mass, with consequent reduction in strength and physical performance, as well as quality of life: this is sarcopenia.
An adequate distribution of the protein quota at meals, with a protein intake in at least two main meals and physical rehabilitation represent a potentially effective strategy in combating sarcopenia in old age.

READ ALSO: 8 useful foods to combat aging

ANIMAL AND VEGETABLE PROTEINS: WE CHOOSE WITHOUT EXTREMISMS

The Guidelines for correct nutrition in Italy recommend a balanced consumption of animal and vegetable proteins: as part of a healthy lifestyle, the ideal protein intake should derive 45% from animal proteins and 55% from proteins vegetables.

Among the sources of animal proteins, the largest contribution should come from dairy products, due to their fundamental contribution of calcium, and from fishery products, while meat should make up 10% of our diet.
Proteins of animal origin have a high biological value (easier to digest and absorb by the body) and an important quantity of essential amino acids (constituents that humans can only obtain from food). Plant proteins are linked to lower overall mortality, particularly cardiovascular, and better insulin sensitivity (i.e. the body responds better to insulin regulation of blood sugar).

However, it should be kept in mind that the nutrient – the protein – cannot be isolated from the source that provides it – the food. We eat foods and not nutrients. Therefore it is more correct to talk about protein sources.

READ ALSO: Foods rich in proteins and low in fats (which you can’t imagine)

WE LIKE PROTEIN BECAUSE IT MAKES US SATITED. HERE’S HOW, IN 5 STEPS

The amount of proteins present in a food increases the time it remains in the stomach, and this becomes a potential conditioning for oral processing (from the first bite to swallowing), resulting in a greater satiating stimulus.
A protein-rich meal, combined with the right amount of carbohydrates, stimulates the release of the GLP-1 hormone which slows the emptying of the stomach, increases the feeling of satiety and reduces appetite even afterwards.

After having lunch there is an energy expenditure linked to digestive processes. The amount of energy lost in heat is greater after consuming proteins.
The hypothesis has been put forward that satiety can be effectively induced by the branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) present in high quality proteins.
To explain the satiating effect of proteins, their role in the induction of postprandial gluconeogenesis (glucose production) is also discussed.

READ ALSO: The feeling of hunger depends on a satiety switch in the brain

THE MICROBIOTA “LISTENS” TO THE PROTEINS

In the scientific literature, numerous studies confirm the essential role of the intestinal microbiota (billions of microorganisms belonging to thousands of different species) for the health of the entire organism.
Plant proteins are important for our microbiota, because they modulate it through prebiotic effects and support the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, decreasing the proliferation of bacteroids.
Several studies have also demonstrated the importance of animal proteins in modulating the microbiota thanks to a more “correct” relationship between essential amino acids and ease of digestion.

READ ALSO: Probiotics: what they are and what they are for

PROTEIN AND SPORT, AN INSEPARABLE COMBINATION IN A BALANCED DIET

The need for proteins increases in athletes, in a percentage ranging from 20% to 100% in athletes at a competitive level, in particular training situations.
For those who play sports, the increase in energy expenditure – and therefore in calories consumed every day – leads to a systematic increase in protein quota. But this must happen in a varied and balanced diet, with a correct proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber and other key nutrients which can only be achieved through variety and not by focusing only on one nutrient.

READ ALSO: Proteins and sport: how much you need and where to find them

Photo by amirali mirhashemian / Brands&People / Design4business / Shelley Pauls

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2024-06-16 06:56:50
#Proteins #Mediterranean #Diet

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