Womens Health

The Mediterranean Diet - Is It For You?

The "Mediterranean Diet" is the name that has been given to the eating habits that originated with people from the Mediterranean regions.  This included such places as Greece and Southern Italy.  Over time, researchers noticed that people from these places had an incredibly low incidence of heart disease.  Experts think that one of the main reasons for their health was their diet - dubbed the Mediterranean Diet.  This diet, or eating style, includes large quantities of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, red wine and fish with very infrequent amounts of red meat.

The Background to the Mediterranean Diet

As a result of this example, the Mediterranean Diet was born.  This diet has been shown to lower cholesterol levels in people who maintain it as a part of their lifestyle.  It also raises helpful HDL cholesterol levels.  Many people feel that this diet is more of a lifestyle alteration, leading them to have an easier time maintaining it and keeping off extra weight.  They don't feel restricted like they do on traditional diets, and they enjoy the variety of food and drink options available to them.  A young scientist, Ancel Keys, first advocated this diet more than 50 years ago.  He studied people who lived in places where there was an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and where people used a lot of olive oil; he found that they had virtually no incidences of heart disease.  In comparison, he looked at places like the United States where people eat a great deal of beef, cheese and other foods full of saturated fat, and he found that heart disease was a leading cause of death.

What The Mediterranean Diet Involves

Here are a number of tips for keeping a Mediterranean diet - or a Mediterranean way of life.  Eat a bountiful amount of fruits and vegetables; they are low in calories and fat and full of nutrients.  If you're going to eat breads, select loaves made of whole grains and flours.  The less processed the food is, the more it will provide sustained levels of energy.  If you need something sweet, select something with at least one serving of fruit.  Finally, if you have to eat out, select grilled fish with steamed vegetables and items with almost no cream or cheese.  Enjoy foods made with olive oil and plenty of vegetables.  

Variety With This Diet

There are many variations of the Mediterranean diet. In general, however, there are certain principles to follow, and this is one of the reasons that people enjoy this diet.  It offers flexibility and variety, rather than stringency and food plans.  Here are some helpful tips to keeping a Mediterranean Diet.  Enjoy a moderate wine consumption, primarily red wine.  Eat cereals, fruits, legumes, vegetables and little meat or meat products.  Eat only a moderate amount of milk or dairy products.  Use olive oil whenever possible and enjoy desserts made from fruits sweetened with nuts, olive oil, concentrated sugars and honey.  Stay away from eggs, eating less than four a week.

The one downside to the diet is that it allows for more fat intake than regular diets do.  It includes about 25% to 35% of the total calories consumed in a day as fat calories.  Some people find that this actually prevents them from losing weight and they may need to reduce their fat intake accordingly.  However, the advantages of this diet - or way of eating for life - seem to outweigh the disadvantages.  This eating plan is one that is generally easy to follow and that gives satisfying results over time.  It's not a quick weight-loss plan - but a long term eating plan to keep you healthy and feeling great!

Login to comment

Post a comment