It has been found that people living in Mediterranean Countries such as Southern France, Spain and Italy live longer than people in other parts of the world. Why is this?
Its what they eat and how the Mediterraneans cook their food that makes all the difference.
From Mediterranean Country to Mediterranean Country, the way the food is cooked may differ so although the flavours are varied, the foods used are the same.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The diet is mainly foods that come from plants; grains, vegetables especially green leafy vegetables, fruits, beans legumes, nuts, and olive oil. So the foods that are common in the Mediterranean Countries are olives, grapes, wheat and what can be made from these foodstuffs. Added advantages of these foods are their nutritional value; they provide antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
The Mediterranean Diet can help people avoid what is called the Diseases of Affluence. These diseases are common in Westernised, industrialised nations and include Heart Disease, Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and some Cancers.
Isnt Olive Oil A Fat And Fats Are Bad For Us?
Yes olive oil is a fat, but its a good fat. The body needs good fat.
· Good Fat is monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.
· Bad Fats are saturated fats.
FATS are found in Meat and Dairy Products and some Vegetable Oils.
The body needs a certain amount of fat to be sure everything is working properly. But there are two kinds of fat that we get from our food.
SATURATED FAT causes the fat to settle on the inside walls of the Arteries. The FAT in the Arteries is called Cholesterol. Its the Cholesterol that makes the Blood Vessels narrow so the blood is unable to pass through properly. The heart then has to pump harder to allow the blood to pass round the body, the result can be the heart is weakened, so causing Heart Failure, High Blood Pressure and Strokes.
BAD FAT is called LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein).
If you can cut ALL the BAD FAT out of your diet, you will be doing yourself and your body a big favour.
But whatever you do, dont mistakenly leave out the GOOD FAT from your diet. Because the UNSATURATED FAT has been found to actually liquefy the Cholesterol and pass it out of the body by natural means.
The GOOD FAT is called HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) this GOOD FAT can be found in Plants and Animal Products. Therefore if you eat more fruit and vegetables you will be on the right path to living a healthy lifestyle.
Ancel Keys aged 96 believes his long life is due to the Mediterranean Diet. As a young scientist 50 years ago, he found that people in countries where fresh fruits and vegetables are in abundance and olive oil flows freely, Southern Italy, Southern France, Greece and parts of North Africa and the Middle East, Heart Disease is rare.
Three Tips for Eating The Mediterranean Diet
· Fill your plate with fresh fruit and vegetables they are low in calories and fats and full of much needed nutrients.
· When buying bread go for flour made from whole grains.
· For dessert choose fruits.
So besides preventing heart disease etc eating the Mediterranean Diet way; as an added bonus, you might even lose weight.
Copyright 2006 Eva Moffat