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Is Mediterranean diet healthy?



 

 

Is the Mediterranean diet good for you as it hyped up to be is it as heart healthy as they say and prevent Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease as many person claim even though it uses a lot of olive oil regularly and you can drink wine. Lets look at the key components of this diet to see if it indeed healthy.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

  • The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional diet of the people who live around the Mediterranean sea such as the Greek ,Italians and the Turkish. This diet is actually a lifestyle for these people which may vary from country to country in this region for example the Greeks do not like too much animals fats so they eat  red meat only a few times a month while the Turkish religion does not allow them to eat pig  or drink alcohol.

 

  • The reason this diet has draw so much attention is because dietitians and researcher saw the health benefits that the people of this region had which was some of the lowest rate of heart disease in the world.
  • The diet consist of a comparatively excessive usage of legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, produce, as well as organic olive oil.
  •  Modest consumption to high usage of fish. modest usage of dairy food (mostly as mozzarella dairy product as well as yogurt).
  • Modest wines usage, as well as low usage of meat as well as meat products a few times a week.
  • The diet also in cooperates daily physical activities.Lets take a look at the Mediterranean diet pyramid.

The Mediterranean diet pyramid

The Mediterranean diet pyramid
The Mediterranean diet pyramid

 

The Mediterranean diet pyramid is one a nutritionist top selection for best diet and good health and weight loss .The Mediterranean diet recommends eating red meat just a few times a month and allows generous amounts of olive oil . It also calls for limited consumption of alcohol, which may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Greens

green leafy vegetable (mediterranean diet)
By ProjectManhattan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
On the pyramid you can see vegetable takes up the largest percentage of food consumption. Dark leafy greens are rich in antioxidants vitamins which may help guard against cancer and heart disease and possibly prevent damage to the eyes. Greens are also excellent source of calcium, iron and vitamin B folic acid ,which research shows can reduce the risk of nearly tube (spinal cord ) defects in fetuses. Folic acid may also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.                                                                                                  Your shopping list  : Fresh vegetable or canned low sodium vegetable.Eggplant ,asparagus , green beans , beets ,Brussels sprouts ,broccoli ,carrot , cauliflower , okra , onion , tomato, tomato paste ,tomato sauce ,winter squash , spinach , summer squash , collard greens , turnip greens , turnip , kale and Onions

Legumes

legumes in the Mediterranean diet
“Colourful bean salad” by Paul Goyette – http://www.flickr.com/photos/pgoyette/84062829/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Like dark leafy greens legumes such as garbanzo beans (chicken peas) cannellini beans and red kidney beans are rich in folic acid and iron . What’s more they are high in protein making them low – fat,no cholesterol alternative to meat. And they’re great source of soluble fiber, which can help reduce levels of blood cholesterol.                              Your shopping list  :Chickpeas (Garbanzo), Hummus, White (Cannellini) ,Black, Pinto, Lentil

Fruits

Fruits are another important food on the pyramid, two to four serving daily should come from fruits. The important function is to provide us with fiber ,vitamin A,vitamin C ,complex carbohydrates and fats which can be found in Avocados.One serving is equal to a medium apple,banana,or orange,1/2 canned fruit or 3/4 low or no sugar added cup of fruit.Fruits play a major role in cancer prevention so this is another reason why this is a healthy diet.                           Your shopping list:  Apples, Bananas, Grapes ,Oranges, Cherries Blueberries, Kiwis ,Strawberries, Pomegranate, Plums, Peaches, Avocados

Garlic(other spices)
Also shown to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol even when eaten in small quantities garlic is a traditional staple of Mediterranean cuisine that adds flavorful without contributing either fat or sugar.                                                                                                                Your shopping list: Garlic, Basil Cilantro ,Parsley ,Mint ,Cumin Coriander and Oregano

Olive oil
For centuries olive oil has been the fat of choice in Mediterranean cooking .Unlike butter and lard, animal products that are loaded with saturated fat,olive oil is a monounsaturated fat,which studies suggest may reduce the the risk of atherosclerosis. The Greek ,Italians and Spaniards uses an average of almost 18 litres of olive oil per person and the people of this region have a lower risk of heart disease ,stroke and blood pressure problems than the rest of Europe and North America. Studies done by Pharmacological Research shows how olive is one fat that helps to reduce cardiovascular disease. Research done by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona confirms why women of this region have low breast cancer rate than the rest of the world because of olive oil use .                                                                                          

Your shopping list : healthy fats  Olive (Extra-Virgin) and Avocado

Greek yogurt

greek yogurt on benefit of the diet
By cyclonebill (Græsk yoghurt med honning og valnødder) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This helps to prevent damage to your immune system by importing good bacteria into your intestines . These good microorganisms are called probiotics and they keep your gut health a healthy gut leads to a strong immune system. Greek yogurt also has B12 vitamins , iodine and potassium,  calcium and proteins . With Greek yogurt packing these essential nutrients they have been helping Mediterranean dieter keep down their waist line and lower blood pressure .  Research has also show that Greek yogurt help to prevent Crowns disease which is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes swelling in the digestive tract.                                            Your shopping list :Low-fat milk, Yogurt,Greek Yogurt

Cheese

The Mediterranean diet also allow for small portion of low fat cheese which are packed with important proteins , calcium and two cancer fight substance called Conjugated Linoleic  acid see it on Amazon which is a fatty acid that help to reduce bad fat and promote lean body muscles and  Sphingolipids .                                                 Your shopping list: low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat cottage cheese

White meat and eggs

Fish,eggs and poultry is eaten a few times per week it is recommended to consume 2 serving a fish a week more fish is to be eaten than poultry and eggs  since fish provide high quality proteins which is lean in fats .Fish also has help prevent heart disease and boost your immune system because of the omega-3 fatty acid it contains. Omega -3 fatty acid also has many benefits to our skeletal system and research has show that it help prevent arthritis. Research has also show that a cell in our brain called glial get rid of toxins from our brain and fats from fish helps to protect these cells and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.                                                                               Your shopping list:Salmon , Cod, Scallops ,Clams Tilapia ,Tuna ,Crab,eggs and chicken

Red meat

Red meat (beef,pork and game)is the smallest portion on the Mediterranean Food Pyramid and should be eaten only a few times a month in very small amounts.   Meat is a excellent source of iron and their presence is less in poultry.  Iron plays a critical role in hemoglobin synthesis on red blood cells and does an important contributor to physical fitness and overall cardiovascular health.         Your shopping list: lean beef  ,lean pork

Wine
Moderate consumption of wine is allowed and they appears to have beneficial effects on the circulation and research has shown that red wine  may offer significant cardioprotective benefits.  Wine can be paired with your dish or drink on its own                                  Your shopping list: Red wine

Nuts

Nut a handful of nut is pack with fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acid which studies has show can  prevent Alzheimer and Parkinson disease . Nut such as walnut contain fats which help to reduce clogging of arteries according to studies done. Brazilian nut is a good source of selenium which help to prevent cancer.Almonds are rich in calcium and helps in the fight against lung cancer. In this diet nut should be eaten raw to preserve the nutritional value or  by roasting not frying .                                                                                                                                   Your shopping list:{ Raw or roasted} Walnuts, Almonds ,Peanuts, Pine nuts, Cashews Sunflower seeds, Flax

Fiber

This diet has lots of fiber which comes from whole wheat bread, rice ,fruits, bulgur,vegetables,legumes  and polenta . Fiber is an important component of sound nutrition . Fiber consists of plant material that is not digested but rather moves through the digestive tract and out of the body .

Fiber is very important for bowel movement and reducing cholesterol in our body.                                                                            Your shopping list:  bread, whole grain , grape-nuts cereal , raisin bran cereal , Triscuit Original crackers , Ry Krisp Natural crackers ,brown rice ,tortilla, whole grain , oat s, dry, whole grain ,Cheerios cereal ,shredded wheat cereal,Couscous, Bulgar, Pita Barley

Regular physical activity

The Mediterranean diet includes regular physical activities daily which we all know the benefits our muscles , brains, bones ,heart and prevent  heart   diseases  and cancer.

 So as you can see the mediterranean diet is a very healthy diet and it benefits are endless this diet can be used for weight loss and the prevention of many  lifestyle diseases.

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