The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional model inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of some of the countries of the Mediterranean basin, particularly Greece and Southern Italy.
The diet is from the Greek island of crete where Cretans and other Greeks live longer than any other populations in the world-and-they are 20% less likely to die of coronary artery disease than Americans. They also have 1/3 less cancer than in the U.S.
Common to the diets of these regions are a high consumption of fruit and vegetables, bread, wheat and other cereals, olive oil and fish making them low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber.
Some questions have been raised as to if the diet provides adequate amounts of all nutrients, particularly calcium and iron. Nonetheless, green vegetables, a good source of calcium and iron, are used in the Mediterranean diet as well as goat cheese, a good source of calcium. Eating red meat sparingly seems to also increase health. There is a general consensus among health professionals that the Mediterranean diet is healthier than the Asian and American diet because more grains, such as spaghetti, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and olive oil are consumed.
Higher in fat (40%) than the (30%) recommended by the American Heart Association, the Mediterranean diet is gaining in popularity as a tasty heart-healthy alternative to low-fat eating. There might be a question, which arises in your mind is the Mediterranean way a better way to eat? Let’s look at the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.
Other oils rich in monounsaturated fats, such as canola or peanut oil, can be substituted by olive oil. People who are watching their weight should limit their oil consumption. Pyramid recommends eating lots of fruits, vegetable and whole grains, but the Greeks ate very little red meat and they consumed far more plant foods-averaging nine serving a day of antioxidant-rich vegetables.
The Greeks ate cold water fish several times a week another heart-healthy investment since fish contain omega-3 oils that not only reduce heart disease risk but also boost immune system functioning.
The Greeks diet contains little of the two kinds of fats known to raise blood cholesterol levels: saturated fat and trans fat (also called “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients section of food labels).
Points to be Noted
Understanding the differences in kinds of fats and knowing how to read and interpret food labels can help one become a smarter food shopper. Look for snack chips without hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
Try natural peanut butter instead of the pasty, hydrogenated kind.
Alter recipes whenever possible to replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats like olive, canola or peanut oil. Use butter very sparingly or use butter flavoring.
Don’t believe “fat free” or “cholesterol free” labeling mean that the product is good for you. Many of these items are made with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and they have “empty calories” that can raise blood triglyceride levels.
In one study, French researchers assigned 600 heart attack survivors to follow either a Mediterranean diet or a regimen similar to the one recommended by the U.S Government and American Heart Association. The short-term results were virtually the same both diets reduced cholesterol levels by comparable amounts, but the long-term results were surprising. Only 8 new heart attacks occurred over the next two years in the Mediterranean group, compared to 33 in the other group. What the researchers don’t mention, however, is the gender of participants.
Statistically, women are at much greater risk of suffering a second heart attack. Another consideration is that heart disease is multi-factorial. Diet is just one factor. Family history, lifestyle and blood pressure management are other risks.
Mediterranean diet is without doubt the only option you should consider in any effort to lose weight. Many popular diets like those of the high-protein variety are extremely harmful and although they sometimes succeed in delivering their promises of shedding weight, the chances of keeping this weight off are very unlikely.
Important Note: The articles presented are provided by third party authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of KhanaPakana.com. They should not be construed as medical advice or diagnosis. Consult with your physician prior to following any suggestions provided.