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?
It’s what they eat and how the Mediterranean’s cook their food that makes all the difference.
What Is The Mediterranean diet?
Common to the diets of these regions are a high consumption of fruit and vegetables, bread, wheat and other cereals, olive oil and fish; making them low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber.
A main factor in the appeal of the Mediterranean diet is its rich, full flavored foods. Margarine and hydrogenated oils are considered bland and lacking the flavor olive oil can impart to foods. You’ll be surprised that olive oil is the main contributing factor to their healthy secrets. Red wine is also consumed regularly but in moderate quantities. Added advantages of these foods are their nutritional value; they provide antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
What makes the Mediterranean diet a healthy option?
Olive Oil – Olive oil lowers cholesterol levels in the blood and also lowers blood sugar levels and blood pressure. While we are using oils that are high in animal fats, they are using oils which are lowering their cholesterol levels! See the difference?
Red wine – Red wine contains flavonoids with powerful antioxidant properties. (“Antioxidant” is a classification of several organic substances, including vitamins C and E, vitamin A (which is converted from beta-carotene), selenium (a mineral), and a group known as the carotenoids.) In short, antioxidants help prevent cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Fruits & Vegetables – I’m pretty sure I won’t need to tell you why eating fruits and vegetables are beneficial for your health. However, do remember to take them in moderation, as too much isn’t good either! Fruits contain high amount of Fructose, which is a form of simple sugar, taking fruits late at night isn’t too good an option as these sugars digest very quickly and if your body does not need them, they’re going to be stored as fats.
Bread, Wheat & Cereals – These are basically their carbohydrates intake. Essentially, instead of potatoes (West) or rice (East), they take bread, wheat and & cereals. These forms are carbohydrates fall under complex carbohydrates. Wheat & Cereals have low glycemic index which means, they digest very slowly, which is beneficial. They are also high in fiber, vitamins B6 and E, Magnesium, copper, Zinc, the list continues.
Fish – Eating fish has many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease. However, too much is again not good. Fish is a good source of protein, it contains lots of vitamins and minerals, and it is low in saturated fat. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that helps reduce the risk of heart disease. All fish contain these oils, but oily fish contain much more of these oils than white (non-oily) fish.
Mediterranean Food List:
Honey, Olive Oil, Olives, Red/white/sweet/rose/church wines, Brandy, Liqueur, Feta, Cod, Tarama, Sardine, fruit juices and many more!
Mediterranean diet is indeed a healthy choice. If you are able to get your hands on recipes and their food stuff, please, go ahead and try it. You might just end up becoming a fan!