The MessinianDiet Pyramid is a schematic representation of the dietary recommendations for adults, based on the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. At the base of the pyramid there are types of food that should be most often consumed, while on the top of the pyramid there are food types that should be rarely consumed. The remaining food categories are placed on the intermediate levels of the pyramid and suggest moderate consumption. The term ‘serving’ as a reference standard characterizes the frequency of consumption of a specific food, corresponding to approximately half of a served portion at a restaurant. The calculation of the exact quantity and rate of consumption of the foods from these particular groups depends on the anthropometric characteristics of each individual. It should be noted that of special importance is regular physical activity; 30 minutes of moderately intense walking on a daily basis is recommended for the promotion of health.

Finally, it should be noted that adult dietary recommendations of the Messinian Food Pyramid are largely in accordance to the traditional Messinian diet. A noteworthy exception is that, while in a traditional Messinian diet people ate meat four times a year and fish once a week. Τhe consumption rates of these foods are unattainable today and are in contrast to the recommendations of the American Heart Association guidelines of eating fish at least two times a week.

Therefore, the recommendations of consumption of the various food groups based on the Messinian Diet Pyramid are as follows:

Cereals or cereal products should be consumed onan average of eight servings on a daily basis. More specifically, whole grain cereals, such as oatmeal, are very rich in vitamin B complex, vitamin E, minerals and fiber. They are placed on the base of the Messinian Pyramid and are associated witha reduced risk ofcardiovascular disease incidence, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Typical examples of cereals at the Messinian Diet Pyramid are ‘triftades’ and ‘Mani noodles’ (types of pasta) as well as rusks (paximadi) from Mani.

Fruit (raw or dried)
The recommendation is to consume on a daily basis approximately three servings of fruit, which are rich in water, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and substances with antioxidant properties. Typical examples of fruit of the Messinian Diet Pyramid are figs, raisins, grapes, prickly pear, Messinian watermelon, etc.

Vegetables- Greens
The recommendation is approximately six servings of vegetables and greens. This group of food is rich in water, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals and trace elements as well as substances with antioxidant properties. Typical examples of vegetables- greens of the Messinian Diet Pyramid are wild greens from Mount Taygetos, zucchini, artichoke, eggplant, tomato, etc.

Dairy Products
The pyramid recommends the consumption of approximately 2 servings of dairy products on a daily basis, in the form of milk, traditional yogurt and cheese. They contribute to the dietary intake of calcium and are rich in riboflavin (vitamin B2) andcobalamin (vitamin b12) and, when consumed at the recommended quantity, dairy products provide significant health benefits.Typical examples of dairy products in the Messinian Diet Pyramid are talagani cheese, Peloponnesian feta, sfelacheese, milk, traditional Messinian yogurt etc.

Added Fats
The consumption of olive oil is recommended as the main added fat in cooking, salads or precooked food. It has a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, a low content of saturated fatty acids and essential fatty acids and is rich in tocopherols, phenols and sterols. Typical examples of added fats of theMessinian Diet Pyramid are extra virgin olive oil of Kalamata, Kalamataolives and butter.

The recommendation isto consume about 2-3 portions of fish per week. They contain high biological value proteins, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc and several vitamins. They are considered good sources of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g. sardines) and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, and lung cancer. Typicalexamples of fish and seafood of the Messinian Diet Pyramid are sardines, cod, anchovy, squid, octopus, etc.

Poultry and eggs
Their consumption should not exceed 1 serving per day. Specifically, eggs should not exceed three per week,including those used in cooking, for the preparation of food or sweets. Typical examples of this specific category in the Messinian Diet Pyramid are chicken and chicken eggs.

The recommendation is 3 servings of legumes per week, adding olive oil during their cooking preparation. Typical examples of legumes of the Messinian Diet Pyramid are the lupin bean, the mung bean, the carob and the black-eyed pea.

The Pyramid recommends the consumption of 3 servings of potatoes per week since, from a nutritional perspective, they are quite similar to processed grains. Potatoes from Kalamata are a typical example of potatoes in the Messinian Diet Pyramid.

It is recommended that the consumption of sweets does not exceed 1 serving per every two days. Typical examples of sweets for the Messinian Diet Pyramid are dried figs, fruit preserves, sesame bars, ‘diples’, etc.

Red Meat
The consumption of red meat should not exceed 4 servings monthly. The consumption of poultry is preferred to the consumption of red meat since the latter is rich in saturated fats and cholesterol, which have been implicated inincreasing the risk for colorectal cancer. Representative examples of red meat for the Messinian Diet Pyramid are lamb, kid meat from Taygetos, game meat and others.

The consumption of wine, like the wine of Messinia, should be 1 or 2 glasses per day for men and 1 glass per day for women, usually during meals. This practice has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Typical examples of this category in the pyramid are the Messinian wine, the Messinian ouzo, raki, Messinian liqueurs and other alcoholic beverages.

Low consumption of salt is recommended. Ideally, salt should be replaced by other herbs, such as oregano, basil and thyme. A typical example of this category in the Messinian Diet Pyramid is Messinian salt.
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