Mediterranean diet

Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the healthiest diet which has been in practice for so many years to date. The Mediterranean diet is characterized by food high in;

  • 1. Lots of fresh fruits , vegetables, cereals, potatoes, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grain bread.
  • 2. Use of monounsaturated fats such as Olive oil as their main source of fat.
  • 3. Low to moderate use of amounts of wine.
  • 4. Less consumption of animal products such as milk, fish, poultry and beef.
  • 5. Lots of whole grains like brown rice , oatmeal, bread and pasta.

Mediterranean diet or food are mostly fresh, seasonal whole foods which have not gone through processing which tend to strip off nutrients and fiber, but instead they are prepared using simple cooking methods and rarely have to do deep frying.

According to " Archives of Internal Medicine , December 2008, phenolic compounds may explain Mediterranean diet benefits where blood vessels appear healthier after individuals consume olive oil high in phenolic compounds."

 mediterranean diet

Phenolic compounds in Olive oil which have antioxidant , anti- inflammatory and anti-clotting properties may explain cardiovascular health benefits linked with Mediterranean diet as per the new study.

Also another study as per American Journal of Clinical nutrition , December 2010 noted researchers in Israel found diet rich in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids , like Mediterranean diet offered protection against skin cancer. They found that melanoma rates in Mediterranean region were very low.


So why do Mediterranean diet emphasize use of olive oil?

Well, Olive oil which is unsaturated fats is considered the King of oils , and this is not only due to its exquisite taste, but because of its nutritive and medicinal qualities. It regulates cholesterol in the blood.

It is used against constipation and also with problems with gallbladder. Olives are rich in fats i.e. 36% and also contain proteins which is 3%. Olive oil is rich in vitamins such as A, B1, B2, C, D, E and K and Iron.

I believe you have probably heard of virgin and extra virgin olive oil and seen them in your local store. Olive oil is pressed from harvested ripe olives and oil from the first pressing is classified as virgin. And extra virgin oil is oil from the first pressing that is usually low in acid less 1%.

What are the benefits of Mediterranean diet

Overall the benefits of Mediterranean diet is centered or geared towards health and also to maintain a healthy weight. Changing your diet into Mediterranean diet means putting yourself in the right path to a healthy lifestyle like preventing lifestyle diseases , maintaining a healthy weight, looking younger and more energetic and many more health benefits.

Remember Mediterranean diet is rich in;

1. Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil which is known to regulate cholesterol in the blood and other benefits such as cancer prevention.

2. Carotenoids which is found in colored fruits and vegetables known in its role in cancer prevention, protection from heart disease and antioxidants which protects arteries lining and fats in the blood from free radicals.

3. Phytochemicals which are basically substances produced in plants to protect them against viruses , fungi and bacteria.

How do I get started with Mediterranean diet?

Where there is a will, there is a way. Getting started into this diet is simple and it involves;

1. Using monounsaturated healthy fats such as olive oil for cooking instead of saturated fats found in animal products.

2. Choosing whole grains e.g. rice , pasta, bread and legumes such as beans , peas , and lentils. I prefer dried instead of canned since preservatives are used to prolong shelf life.

3. Choosing variety of fresh colored fresh fruits and vegetables.

4. Include potatoes , sweet potatoes in your diet and above all choose water above all drinks. You can Right-click to download Mediterranean diet grocery shopping list you can use whenever you go shopping.

 

Do you have any experience with mediterranean diet? Share your experience with others.


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