The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of southern Italy, Greece, and Spain. The principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil, Legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, and vegetables moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate wine consumption, and low consumption of red meats and meat products.
Dietary factors are only part of the reason for the health benefits enjoyed by certain Mediterranean cultures. A healthy lifestyle (notably a physically active lifestyle or labor) is also beneficial. Your Environment may also be involved in your success.
Here are some key components of the Mediterranean diet.
The flavors are rich, and the health benefits for people choosing a Mediterranean diet are hard to ignore—they are less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol or become obese. This Cuisine features delicious and nourishing recipes that evoke the essence of the Mediterranean region while helping you work your way toward optimal health.
Today, more people than ever are discovering the benefits of the this wonderful Diet. Though it is higher in fat than diet recommendations in the
United States - 40% compared to 30% - people are successful in losing weight
and maintaining healthy eating habits.
There is even a Mediterranean Food Pyramid just like the USDA Food Pyramid we are all used to. Both pyramids promote fruits and vegetables, but the Food Pyramid lists Olive Oil as the third highest daily intake recommendations, and it also separates proteins - fish, red meat, and nuts - unlike the USDA Food Pyramid. Red meat is at the very top of the Mediterranean Pyramid, recommending that it is only consumed a few times a month, and then only in small amounts.
For those who find dieting in general difficult and hard to follow, the Mediterranean diet is by far the one diet that does not seem like a diet at all. It is recommended that the average person consume 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, fish at least twice a week, replace regular oils with olive oil, and consume nuts, like walnuts and almonds, for snack. It is also recommended to switch to dairy products containing lower amounts of fat, such as 2% milk. Red Wine is allowed at one glass per day for women and two glasses a day for men. The key is moderation, so if you are not already a drinker, it is not recommended that you start.
Why is the Mediterranean diet so important for our
health? The answer is simple: "Its foods contain healthy elements". A
good example of this concept is Polyphenols.
Apples and Red wines are a great source of Polyphenols. According to Wikipedia, 'Polyphenols are a group of chemical substances found in plants,
characterized by the presence of more than one phenol group per molecule.'
These chemicals can be found in high levels in the skins of fruits. They have an anti-oxidant effect that reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Every one of us knows that eating fresh fruits daily helps in the prevention of cancer and other diseases. Do you remember the ancient saying: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"? There is ample evidence to show that this idea is true.
Eating a balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits and fiber also helps to maintain a proper intestinal flora to help prevent bowel inflammation and reduce the risk factors for developing cancer, especially colon, and detrimental prostate. Foods rich in vitamins (especially fruits and vegetables) help the development of antioxidants that promote cell response to aggression, while frequent consumption of fats or products with hormones can cause cells to grow and multiply uncontrollably causing tumors
may be the key factor in the benefits of this diet is that the foods are low in
saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat. Olive oil, which has the highest
levels of monounsaturated fats of all the cooking oils, is the most commonly
used oil in the Mediterranean diet. Studies have shown that olive oil lowers cholesterol, as well as blood pressure
and blood sugar levels. This is one diet I have no problem incorporating in my life. It's great and it has sure helped to shed those unsightly pounds.