Cuisine and diet are conditioned by the products of each area and its climate. In this sense, the so-called Atlantic diet, a term coined in the 1990s, refers to the eating style shared by the areas surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in countries such as Portugal, Spain, France, and England.
It’s also important to mention that, although the eating style is shared, the preparation of meals is greatly influenced by the prevailing climate. Thus, in colder areas, more filling or hot dishes are prepared, and in warmer areas, simpler and fresher dishes are prepared.
The Atlantic diet: Galician cuisine
The Atlantic diet contains all the necessary ingredients for a healthy diet. Far from what you might think at first, this diet has a long history in the lifestyle of many countries. Some of these countries are Portugal, France, England, and Spain (specifically Galicia, Cantabria, and the Basque Country).
The high-quality Galician products, already known by the Celts, the Romans or the early medieval pilgrims, also received the traces left by all the peoples who have been coming to these lands, and the inheritance received from the American shore of this ocean. This is how the basis of the so-called Atlantic diet was formed.
Characteristics of the Atlantic Diet: what does it include?
According to the Decalogue of the Atlantic Diet that emerged from the II International Congress of the Atlantic Diet in 2006, the characteristics of this way of eating are the following:
- High intake of fish (sea and river) and shellfish (mollusks and crustaceans) that constitute the great current natural reserve of the Atlantic.
- Abundant consumption of plant foods, such as cereals, potatoes and legumes.
- High intake of fruits, vegetables and nuts.
- Using olive oil as the main culinary fat, especially as a raw dressing.
- Consuming dairy products daily.
- Intake of meats, especially pork and, to a lesser extent, lean beef.
- Consumption of water as a beverage of excellence.
- A taste for simplicity in food preparation, where steaming, boiling, baking, baking, grilling or stewing predominate.
- Enjoying meals with traditional foods, with the minimum industrial process.
- Daily physical activity, as it’s as important as eating properly.
Atlantic diet: essential nutrients for the organism
Considering the above, Galician cuisine is healthy, functional, and bioactive because the foods that comprise it are a source of health-protective nutrients. Like the Mediterranean diet, this diet provides the following:
- Omega 3, contained in fish, seeds, nuts.
- Omega 9, present in olive oil.
- Vitamins and minerals, contained in fruits, vegetables and greens.
- Polyphenols, antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, present in grains, oils and seeds.
- Dietary fiber, present in whole grains, legumes, seeds, fruits.
The benefits of Galician cuisine
By way of the nutrients it contains, this diet prevents the onset of some common diseases and, in addition, improves the conditions produced by an inadequate diet. Thanks to it, people receive benefits such as the ones mentioned below:
- Improved gastrointestinal transit.
- Regulated blood glucose levels.
- Cardiovascular disease prevention.
- Diabetes prevention.
- Reduced risk of aging.
- Improved intestinal microbiota balance.
In addition, scientists associate consuming fermented milk with a series of health benefits by providing microorganisms capable of improving the balance of health.
Moreover, a beneficial genetic profile and a healthy lifestyle based on daily physical activity contribute to a high quality of life.
What should be clear about Galician cuisine?
The foods that nutritionists include in Galician cuisine are natural, and, as a result, they’re not processed. In addition, they undergo cooking methods that don’t damage or modify the composition of their nutrients.
In this sense, its benefits are mainly due to a high intake of fish and seafood, olive oil, vegetables, legumes, vegetables and fruit. These foods contain an important source of essential nutrients for the body.
The Atlantic diet is one of the best options for healthy eating; it can prevent metabolic diseases and other non-communicable health issues. However, as always, it’s best to consult a nutritionist before implementing it.