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The Mediterranean Diet: A Heart Healthy Choice

Are you looking for ways to improve your diet? With all the diet choices available, how will you find one that is right for you? If you donít think you could become vegetarian or vegan because that would mean giving up meat, you might want to consider the Mediterranean diet?

What is the Mediterranean diet? The Mediterranean diet places emphasis on the conventional dietary practices of some of the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The types of foods that are consumed in these countries will vary, largely influenced by culture, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status.

The Mediterranean diet was first publicized in 1945 by Ancel Keys, an American doctor who was stationed in Salerno, Italy. However, it didnít receive too much attention until the 1990s, when more emphasis was placed on diets that promoted healthier eating habits and weight loss. The Mediterranean diet is enriched with flavorful cuisine that not only tantalizes the taste buds is good for you.

Key Components Of The Mediterranean Diet
  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Bread and cereal
  • Nuts and seeds
  • The use of healthy fats such as olive oil
  • Red wine in moderation
  • Consumption of fish regularly
  • Minimal intake of processed foods
The Mediterranean Diet Is Heart Healthy

The foods listed above make the Mediterranean diet a heart healthy choice. This diet is filled with foods that assist in lowering cardiovascular disease and also provides a source of resveratrol (red wine), an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory substance. The main fat sources of the Mediterranean diet are olive oil, fish, and nuts, all loaded with omega 3 fatty acids. However, even though these are "good fats", maintaining moderation in your daily intake is still wise.

Mediterranean populations have a lower rate of heart disease than the United States. Their death rates are lower also. Why is this? Ongoing research is being conducted to determine how lifestyle and dietary factors may influence health statistics and mortality rates in these countries.

Can The Mediterranean Diet Prevents Allergies And Asthma?

Researchers in Europe and the UK conducted a study on almost 700 children, ages 8 - 18, living in Crete. They found that those who consumed a high amount of fruits and vegetables were protected from respiratory allergies and asthma. They also noticed that, on a daily basis, over 80% of the children ate fresh fruit, while two thirds ate vegetables at least twice daily. The study was conducted because researchers wanted to investigate why some children in Europe get asthma while others in certain countries like Crete do not.

People Who Follow The Mediterranean Diet Live Longer

Recently, a study was conducted on 400,000 retired Americans. It revealed that the closer a person adhered to the Mediterranean diet, the less likely were they to die over a five-year period. This study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Mediterranean Diet Is Lower In Saturated Fat

At least half of the calories consumed on the Mediterranean diet come from saturated fat; however, this fat is monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat does not raise blood cholesterol like saturated fat. Monounsaturated fat has also been linked to weight loss and greater metabolic efficiency. And this may be part of the reason why residents of mediterranean nations may be able to consume significant amounts of dietary fat without significant increases in average body weight or increases in visceral fat.

If your looking for a healthful diet that is rich in flavor and is good for you, why not try the Mediterranean diet? With the abundant choices this diet has to offer it might become your diet of choice.

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