Nutrition is one of the most important factors that influence health. By selecting proper nutrition and properly structured menu you enable your body to get all the necessary nutrients needed for normal functioning. In order to facilitate the selection of food or aid in the selection of food to ensure good health, the so-called food pyramids are formed.
There are 4 types of food pyramid:
- South American
Mediterranean pyramid is considered the healthiest diet choice and is based on the eating habits which were represented with the Greeks and the Italians in the 20th century.
Meals should be based on plant foods: fruits, vegetables, various nuts, seeds, cereals and other foods, where the intake of fresh fruit is recommended. Avoid the intake of processed fruit and fruit that is not seasonal.
From oil, use only olive oil and only in salads (not for frying). Avoid fatty foods, butter and margarine. Fat intake should not be greater than 35%, where saturated fats should make up 5-8%. Dairy products should be consumed every day, but moderately. It is recommended to take one cup of yogurt a day and cheese in an amount no greater than 100 grams per week.
Take fish meat 3-4 times a week, as well as poultry meat 2-3 times a week (preferably turkey meat or chicken). Do not take more than 4 eggs a week, where you have to take into account the number of eggs that are contained in cookies and cakes and other dishes.
Red meat (lean only) up to 3 times a month. Take every day spices characteristic for the Mediterranean area: rosemary, oregano, onions and others.
Daily exercise. If you do not have time to train, be sure to walk for at least an hour every day.
As you can see, Mediterranean pyramid is primarily based on the intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, avoiding fatty foods and red meat, and sweets. On the other hand it is recommended to regularly take but in moderate amounts: fish meat, yogurt, cheese, spices (oregano, garlic, rosemary) with obligatory physical activity every day.
This pyramid gives very good recommendations for food and if you apply these tips, you will be healthy and you will feel good. Thus, the pyramid only serves to give you recommendations about which food to take and how often or what you should avoid.
Vegetarian diet (vegetarian pyramid) is based on the input of only foods of plant origin, without meat. However, if you do not enter meat, you will not enter the essential amino acids thereby risking having a lack of protein. People who practice a vegetarian diet often have a lack of calcium, iron, iodine and certain vitamins, which can cause a variety of disorders in the body. Meat is necessary as only it contains the essential amino acids or amino acids that our body cannot create and must be taken with food. These amino acids are essential for normal functioning of the body. Also, meat is rich in iron and our body much better uses iron from meat than from plant sources of iron (e.g. lettuce). Therefore, this diet is not recommended.
There are several groups of vegetarians:
- Vegans. The strictest type of vegetarian diet. Vegans eat only foods of plant origin. This type of diet should not be used with young children and the elderly. People who practice this diet often have a lack of B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, iron and other minerals. In order to reduce iron deficiency in these people, it is recommended to often take lettuce with lemon juice. Lemon juice contains a lot of vitamin C, which enhances the better use of iron from lettuce in your body.
- Semi-vegetarians. Semi-vegetarians eat meat but just fish and poultry, while not eating red meat. This diet is recommendable and has similar principles as the Mediterranean type of diet.
- Ovo vegetarians. Ovo vegetarians eat only eggs of animal food, while they do not eat meat.
- Lacto vegetarians. Lacto vegetarians eat only milk and dairy products of food of animal origin, but they do not eat meat at all.
- Ovo lacto vegetarians. Ovo lacto vegetarians eat milk, dairy products and eggs of food of animal origin, but do not eat meat at all.
- Pesco vegetarians. Pesco vegetarians eat milk, dairy products, eggs and of meat they eat only fish.
So, as you can see, there are different types of vegetarian diets and some of them include the intake of meat. If you decide to be a vegetarian, opt for type 2 because such a diet involves intake of meat that has high biological value.
The advantage of this diet is the lower risk of obesity.
Asian and South American pyramids include intake of food which is specific for this area and we will not discuss them in this article because they are much less frequent.
If you want to eat healthy, we recommend the Mediterranean type of diet.