Olive oil is the mainstay of the Mediterranean diet, being very nutritious and containing a very high level of monounsaturated fats
Doctors, since the 1950's, have known the Mediterranean diet, as it is often referred to, helps reduce the risk of premature death.
Also, as stated in a recent Telegraph(UK) article, a new study shows, "a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of depression by nearly a third".
Other trials have shown a reduction in both strokes and heart attacks to be as high as 60% over a four year period.
In 2007 a study of Spanish people aged 65-80 was conducted.
Those that ate a Mediterranen diet showed they were over 30% less likely to die within the next nine years compared to those that didn't.
It is a very healthy diet that traditionally includes fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice and fish.
Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediteranean diet.
They are high in fat (approx. 80% of their calories come from fat), but nuts, including walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts, are low in saturated fat.
Nuts are high in calories, so they should not be eaten in large amounts, a handful a day is sufficient.
This is something I have done for a long time and it certainly has paid dividends. I also include Brazil nuts and plain cashew nuts in my daily handful.
Please Note - Do avoid heavily salted or honey-roasted nuts.
Some of the benefits of this diet are: -
Exceptional reductions in risk of early death through: -
- heart disease
- chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol and Type-2-diabetes.
The Cretan diet from the Mediterranean is high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beneficial oils. It is also low in cholesterol and animal fats.
This traditional diet features a lot of walnuts, olive oil and purslane (a summer vegetable, with a mild,sweet-sour flavor and a chewy texture).
All three contain alpha-linolenic acid, one of the highly sought-after Omega-3 fatty acids and yet Purslane is considered a weed in the US!
The alpha-linolenic acid is a compound thought to be very protective against heart disease.
A good Mediterranean diet will consist of: -
- A high consumption of fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beans, nuts, seeds, bread and other cereals
- Olive oil used for cooking and dressings
- Moderate amounts of grilled and steamed fish
- Little meat (no fat where possible)
- Moderate intake of alcohol, best with meals.
Red Wine is considered the most healthy due to the phenols, bioflvanoids and tanins all of which have health benefits.
- Regular exercise
All of which leads to a healthy lifestyle and can very much assist in natural weight loss.
For a great healthy salad recipe, why not visit my friend David's Tabouli Recipe Page at his great cutting edge mediterranean recipes website.
Have a look at the pyramid below. It gives a flavour of what and how often to eat the different foods and, of course, a mention on exercise.
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