The Mediterranean diet is not at all a typical diet, rather it is scientifically a healthy diet. The regular snacks include a handful of raw nuts, fresh vegetables, or lentil soup. There they continue to replace butter with olive oil and add a moderate amount of red wine. Other healthy changes help to decrease weight and increase longevity. This food preference is based on centuries of dietary pattern and it does not have artificially-created fats such as trans-fatty acids in it. The food there is very minimally processed. One can increase sare overall health and well-being by consuming a diet which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and mono-unsaturated fat while avoiding the over-consumption of meat and animal products containing which have artery-clogging saturated fats and processed foods containing trans-fatty acids.
One of the reasons why this diet may prove to be one of the best is because it focuses on moderation. The amount of carbohydrates and fats consumed by following this diet is moderate compared to most of the commercial diets, and this provides a balance so that the dieters feel less deprived while they work towards their health and weight loss goals. The Mediterranean Diet can be easily integrated into our lifestyle.
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet
* Researches show that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease.
* The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced incidence of cancer and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women consuming a Mediterranean diet have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Key components of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet plan emphasizes mainly on :
* Replacing butter with olive oil and canola oil which makes it healthy.
* Using spiced and herbs instead of salt to give flavor to food.
* Limiting red meat to few times a month.
* Enjoying meals with family and friends.
* Drinking red wine in moderation (optional).
* Getting plenty of exercises.
Grains used in the Mediterranean region are whole grain which usually contains very few unhealthy trans fats. Bread is an important part of the diet over there. However, bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil — not eaten with butter or margarine which contain saturated or trans fats.
Nuts are also a part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts have a lot of fat (approximately 80 percent of their calories come from fat), but most of the fat which they consume, is not saturated. As nuts have a lot of calories, they should be eaten in small amounts — usually not more than a handful a day.
The Mediterranean diet does not focus on limiting total fat consumption, rather make wise choices about the types of fat you consume. The Mediterranean diet discourages saturated fats and hydrogenated oils, both of which contribute to heart-related disease.
This diet replaces olive oil with the primary source of fat. Olive oil gives monounsaturated fat — which is helpful in reducing LDL cholesterol levels when it is used in place of saturated fats.
The good and bad effects of alcohol on health have been a topic of debate for many years, and this is why most of the doctors do not encourage alcohol consumption due to the consequences of excessive consumption.
However, alcohol, if consumed moderately, has been proved to be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease according to some research studies. The Mediterranean diet includes a moderate amount of wine.
There is another way in which the Mediterranean Diet differs from other diets. Exercise is an essential component of the Mediterranean Diet. There are chances that many people living in the Mediterranean get natural opportunities for physical activity, such as fishing, as well as walking, cycling and other activities.
You must be familiar with the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine?”. This has certainly proven to be true in the case of the Mediterranean people. This is not a characteristic of all people of Mediterranean heritage, but it is evident in many of them. There are people who love to tell stories; their conversation is filled with humor. There is obviously a sense of priority and they do take their life seriously, but they do so with a joyful attitude.
This is not completely by choice, but people of the Mediterranean, Greece, Egypt, Turkey and even France–tend to have very few possessions than people living in the States. And people there, make stewardship decisions when it comes to daily requirements. Taking food for example; Mediterranean people do not buy too much of any one ingredient. The concept of buying anything in bulk is still foreign to them. Eating fresh things matter here, and they do not mind making multiple trips to the market–on foot, mostly. Recipes like fattoush, in which day old bread is used, or paella where leftovers are turned into a mind-blowing flavor-packed rice dish, are two examples of ways to minimize waste.