No processed foods here! The Mediterranean diet has been associated with lowering blood pressure, decreasing ones risk of heart disease, lowering bad cholesterol and extending life expectancy!
So what do I think? The Mediterranean diet is a diet that should be followed by all as it has long been considered one of the healthiest diets around the world for thousands of years! Now listen… I know what you’re thinking, “Awe, I can easily go on the Mediterranean diet! I’ll just dump olive oil on everything I eat, add some feta cheese and voila!” LOL, well it’s not quite as simple as that! And no, eating Greek yogurt daily doesn’t mean you’re on the Mediterranean diet either. 😉 The Mediterranean diet yes includes olive oil, feta and Greek yogurt but its more than that. You need to make sure you’re eating whole foods in their most natural state and a lot of “clean eating” is necessary including plenty of fresh fish and organic fresh fruit and vegetables will be key in creating a balanced Mediterranean diet meal plan. The Mediterranean diet is also particularly low in saturated fat and high in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. So go ahead and make the switch, trust me… your heart will love you!
The following article emphasizes the importance of the Mediterranean diet and it’s many health benefits! Dandelion greens anyone?
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet is high in vegetables, fruit, legumes and grains, but also contains moderate amounts of white meat and fish.
It is sparse in red meat, with most fat being unsaturated and coming from olive oil and nuts. The addition of small-to-moderate amounts of (red) wine has been shown to enhance the healthy mix.
In combination with moderate exercise and not smoking, the Mediterranean Diet offers a scientifically researched, affordable, balanced, and health-promoting lifestyle choice.
The ‘ideal’ Mediterranean Diet
The ‘ideal’ (in terms of health-giving effects) Mediterranean Diet has, in relation to a typical Western diet:
- High quantities of: a variety of vegetables, a variety of fruit, legumes (eg beans), cereals and cereal products.
- Moderate quantities of: fish, white meats, nuts, low-fat dairy produce, wine (men: 1-3 units per day, women: 1-2 units per day) with meals.
- Low quantities of: red meat, eggs, sweets and sweet desserts.
- A high mono-unsaturated fat (eg olive oil) to saturated animal fat (eg fatty red meat) ratio – at least 2:1.
- Low amounts of added salt – in many cases, herbs can be used for flavouring in place of excess salt.
What are the measured benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?
Once scientists had quantified the Mediterranean Diet, they were able to compare the risks of developing heart and other diseases in populations that did and didn’t adopt the diet. In these studies, assessments of dietary compliance were usually made by scoring the relative quantities of food substances consumed by those taking part, against the amounts listed in the ‘ideal template.
We can carry out a similar comparison of our own diet with the ‘ideal’ Mediterranean Diet, if we wish to find out how to add more of a healthy Mediterranean style to what we eat.
So, what health benefits did the scientists find when they studied those who had closely followed the Mediterranean Diet?
- Increased longevity – that is, a reduced chance of death at any age – due mainly to reductions in the chance of developing, having a recurrence of, or dying from heart disease or cancer. The results have been confirmed in UK and US populations and represent around a 20% reduced risk of death at any age.
- Reduction in the chance of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or raised blood cholesterol, each of which is associated with cardiac and vascular disease as well as other serious complications. And each of which may require permanent medication once developed.
- Reduction in the chance of becoming obese and that the Mediterranean Diet formed the basis for a balanced reduction in weight.
- Reduction in the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers, who conducted a detailed review and re-analysis of the scientific evidence to date (called a meta-analysis), published in the British Medical Journal, concluded, “These results seem to be clinically relevant for public health, in particular for encouraging a Mediterranean-like dietary pattern for primary prevention of major chronic diseases”.
Article Source: Patient.co.uk