The Mediterranean Diet is been around for thousands of years. Although it is a type of diet, it really wasn’t designed by any particular person. Back in the 1940,s an American doctor by the name of Ancel Keys was stationed in Pompeii Italy. He observed that the people had tremendously good health. He decided to investigate this phenomenon and eventually released his Seven Countries Study.
The Mediterranean diet reflects the foods that are eaten by the people in this area. Because the Mediterranean is such a large area, there are different cuisines, but they are all made with the same food that grows throughout this area. Usually different spices make the difference.
Foods that are eaten are fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, whole grains, cheese, yogurt, nuts, meat and olive oil. Most of the recipes are made with fresh ingredients, with very little processed food being used. Recipes are simple and easy to prepare. They use cooking spices instead of salt to flavor the food. Other foods are high in salt though, including anchovies, salted fish, salt cured cheeses, and others.
Exercise is also a major part of the Mediterranean diet. A lot of the original data for this diet was collected throughout the 1940’s – 1960’s. People during this time were very active and it is believed that this is a contributing factor to the health benefits of this diet.
If you have a sedentary lifestyle you will need to start exercising. Consumer Report studies have shown that most people who lose weight and keep it off exercise about 150 minutes a week. A fifty minute workout would consist of 30 minutes aerobic and the rest anaerobic. Choose a type of exercise that you like. For example, basketball, tennis, bike riding, walking etc. The best exercise is the one that you will consistently do.
If you walk, try jogging for a ½ of a block after you warm up. Continue to walk briskly until your heart beat come down to normal. Do this 2-3 times on your walk. This can help increase metabolism, which helps burn fat. As with any diet or exercise, check with your physician before you start.
A 2008 study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that those who follow the Mediterranean diet lost an average of about 12 pounds.
Studies of shown that the Mediterranean diet is very good for your heart. It will help improve your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and help lower your blood sugar level and LDL cholesterol. Some of this is attributed to the olive oil. Oils in the American diet primarily consist of butter, corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil and canola oil. These oils can be detrimental to your health, for more information click here.
Abdominal fat is been connected to strokes, diabetes and heart disease. The Mediterranean diet helps fight abdominal fat which increases longevity. In one study, people who follow the Mediterranean diet lower their mortality rate. Another study, tracked about 7000 people who were at high risk for heart attacks. This group was found to have 30% less heart attacks.
The Mediterranean diet is also good at preventing cancer and lowered risks of getting Parkinson’s disease. It has been shown to be helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s. One study suggested that longevity was increased. One study suggested that this diet reduces mini strokes, this protects the brain and reduces mental decline.
The bottom of the pyramid includes fruits and vegetables this is the largest amount of food being eaten daily on this diet. These foods are eaten raw or lightly cooked.
This diet is low in saturated fat because it uses primarily monounsaturated fats. The primary fat used is extra virgin olive oil, which has the least amount of processing. Some olive oil sold in the US is not olive oil at all, cheaper oils are sometimes sold as olive oil. To learn more click here. To assure you are getting the best oil, make sure you buy cold pressed and unfiltered extra virgin olive oil. The highest quality olive oil we have found is Bariani Olive Oil. Fat intake on the Mediterranean Diet is high ,25 to 35% calorically, so you need to use high quality oil.
With so much scientific research behind this diet it is highly recommended by many professionals. It seems to have a lot going for it. Being a lifestyle more than a diet you should incorporate into your life.
About the only thing we could find is that real quality olive oil is more expensive than other oils, but when you consider how long a liter of oil lasts, it really isn’t very much money, considering the health benefits.
The Mediterranean Diet is one of the best diets you can follow, we highly recommend this diet.
For more great information on this diet go to Wikipedia.