Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean style diet is not just one specific diet nor has it come from one country. At least 16 countries border the Mediterranean Sea. But it is a proven fact that people around sea and sand have better average ages than countries like US and Japan where most of the people are stressed with work.

The Mediterranean diet is a term that is derived to describe the key dietary habits, particularly of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean diet has been proved to reduce the susceptibility to chronic diseases, and especially heart attack.

What are the Chief components of Mediterranean diet?

Mediterranean people’s main traditional diet was based on a great variety of plant sources. In North Africa the diet was based on couscous, legumes and vegetables. In South Europe it was rice, pasta, polenta and legumes again. Bulgier and rice with vegetables and legumes were the center of the diet in Ester Mediterranean.

These plants were grown naturally in local regions and were often consumed raw. This explains the reason why Mediterranean diet is so rich in dietary fiber and other micro nutrients like anti-oxidants that are normally found in plant foods.

Olive Oil and Total Fat

Olive oil contains in it monounsaturated fat, which is considered the best source of antioxidants. Hence olive oil is still the Mediterranean region’s best source of the fat. Though the traditional food contained almost 40% of fat, it was and is still low in saturated and polyunsaturated fat. Research has shown that this intake of fat in the apparent form of olive oil has had no or very little consequence of health. The fats found in olive oil actually increase the good cholesterol (HDL), and doesn’t affect the bad cholesterol (LDL).

Consumption of Dairy Products in a Regulated way

Mediterranean region people do not consume too much of dairy products that come from animals like goats, sheep, cows, buffaloes and camel. And even when dairy products were consumed, they were consumed in moderate amount. Only fresh milk was considered worth consuming, instead of cheese, butter or yogurt as people from other regions do.

Fish, Poultry and Red Meat sparingly used

Mediterranean diet allows the usage of food from animal sources sparingly, and most of the time it contained fish foods than red meat. Though not directly proved, the cooking process of red meat makes it directly associated with cancers of colon and prostate. It is also related to fat that causes heart disease. But this cannot be the sole reason. Meat does not contain dietary fibers and anti-oxidants. However, fish can be considered the best food as long as food from animals (either of water or earth) is considered.

Wine

One of the few things that come into mind when one suddenly is provoked to think of Mediterranean is Wine. Wine is an important part of Mediterranean diet. Developing research shows that balanced intake of alcohol decreases the chances of a person being affected with heart attack.

Apart from the above mediterranean people also incorporate physical activity into their daily routine. Exercise, both physical and mental, is considered vital to maintain sound health. Sound health makes it easy for anybody to resist disease causing bacteria/viruses.