What is the Mediterranean Diet

What is the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is not, like any other, a special diet to lose or gain weight, not better or worse than others, but completely different. It is a set of healthy eating habits.

The doctor Ancel Keys during a study in the 40's, found in Mediterranean countries than cardiovascular diseases are very few in number, other diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes, existed in very low proportions compared with other Central Europe countries and the United States of America. Concludes that the difference in those countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea was due to the food traditions that characterize and that he called Mediterranean Diet.

But being a follower of the Mediterranean Diet means knowing how to choose what you eat and what to avoid. Are to avoid all kinds of saturated fats, very responsible for the levels of bad cholesterol. The red meat, sweets and sugars are not prohibited, but consumption should be fairly moderate.

The Mediterranean Diet is a very important cultural element and must be initiated as soon as possible. Parents should change their eating habits and transmit them to their children to learn to avoid these altered products and consume fresh and natural foods such as fruit, a food increasingly forgotten by children today. This diet, combined with regular exercise helps keep cholesterol levels low and preventing obesity and heart disease, strokes and cancer.

The Food

The main aspects of this diet include the high consumption of olive oil and vegetables, refined grains, fruits, vegetables and fish, moderate intake of dairy products (mainly cheese and yogurt), low consumption of meat and meat products, and moderate consumption of red wine. It is therefore a diet rich in healthy fats, omega 3 fatty acids, fish protein and antioxidant vitamins.

Olive Oil

The main ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet is extra virgin olive oil. It is the most pure and contains olive antioxidants. Olive oil lowers bad LDL cholesterol due to the large amount of monounsaturated fat that characterizes it. It is also rich in polyphenols, which reduce the formation of free radicals responsible for aging and degenerative diseases. The fat of olive oil, besides the benefits to health is excellent to flavor the food serving as a temper in many different forms, helps to increase satiety and helps digestion by stimulating bowel movements.

Fruits and Vegetables

It is well known that consumption of foods containing vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, antioxidants, may reduce the risk of contracting various diseases, including certain types of cancer. In the Mediterranean Diet these foods are also consumed in large quantities, especially fruits, leafy vegetables and colorful tomatoes, this are used in various dishes, including salads and sauces.

Fatty fish

Consumption of fatty fish such as sardines, tuna, salmon, mackerel, trout, etc... Has important health benefits, as these fish are rich in omega-3 acids, fat soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D , E and K, and iodine. The consumption of fish as well as being beneficial to the circulatory system, is also excellent for bone health, helping in the absorption and uptake of calcium in bones.

Wine in moderation

Hundreds of studies have demonstrated the benefits of red wine for health. Over the past several years studies have been performed by dozens of universities around the world and show that drinking red wine in moderation is healthy for the body. Red wine contains a wide range of plant compounds that have beneficial properties to health, such as flavonoids and resveratrol, which may be responsible for the anti-cancer effects. Flavonoids are antioxidants known to raise HDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. In the Mediterranean Diet, it is recommended the consumption of red wine in moderation at the main meals.

In short, the Mediterranean Diet does not consist in the consumption of certain types of food or abstinence in relation to others, but in conjunction and combination of all the ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet. Combining always the food to a more relaxed life and physical activity we can find a more healthy lifestyle.

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