The “Mediterranean Diet” has become more popular with recent nutritional research and the greater public awareness of the advantages of a diet high in vegetables, fruits, grains, monounsaturated fats and various complex carbohydrates but low in cholesterol and certain forms of saturated fat.

Key features

  • High consumption of breads, pasta, rice, couscous, polenta, bulgur and potatoes.
  • High consumption of fruits (3-4 pieces a day), legumes and vegetables (5 different varieties).
  • Moderate amounts of grilled and steamed fish.
  • Moderate amounts of olive oil – consumed with fresh vegetables and on salads.
  • Small portions of lean red meat with no visible fat, lean pork.
  • Alcohol in small amounts.
  • High intake of antioxidants.
  • Savor your food.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Make sure to get regular exercise, rest, and relaxation.
  • Share time with friends and family every day.

This style of eating includes little meat and plenty of olive oil. Researchers suggest that the live bacterial cultures of yogurt may also have contributed to the regions good health. One item commonly found in Mediterranean dishes is garlic. Garlic may help prevent blood clots, lower your cholesterol level, and protect you against cancer.

Also includes moderate amounts of wine. Some researchers think this may account for Mediterranean s’ healthy hearts. For men moderation is two glasses per day, for women moderation is one glass per day.

The Mediterranean Diet Plan

The Mediterranean Diet plan is not a step-by-step weight loss plan, but an overall eating pattern that is supposed to help you live longer and healthier. It teaches a way of eating that cultures throughout the Mediterranean have been practicing for centuries.

The plan is designed to help control weight through eating more high-fiber and high plant-based foods, and less high-fat meats. It is based on are scientific studies that have associated this type of diet with longer lives and less chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancer, in countries throughout the Mediterranean. These countries that share similar ways of eating are the foundation for the Mediterranean Diet Food Guide Pyramid, one of the diet’s guides for weight loss.

Some important eating rules on the Mediterranean diet plan are limiting higher-fat animal meats and replacing them with more unsaturated fats (such as olive oil), eating more plant foods for protein (such as nuts, seeds, beans), and eating fruit as replacements for most sweets and desserts.

A different weight loss program

This diet is a low-fat diet that focuses on limiting specifically saturated fats. This means replacing your red meat, butter, and full-fat milk with fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, olive oil, and skim milk. There is also a strong emphasis on plant foods. Although this is not a vegetarian diet, you will eat less high-fat meats and other animal products (such as fish and poultry) than you would with the average American diet.

The secret ingredients

Since mortality statistics first identified that Mediterranean populations were living longer than other Europeans, scientists have been trying to deduce which components of the Mediterranean diet are responsible for its considerable benefits.

Olive oil

Olive oil is first choice for investigation as it is used almost exclusively in Mediterranean cooking instead of butter, margarine and other fats. Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fat, which is protective against heart disease, possibly because it displaces saturated fat from the diet. Olive oil is also a source of antioxidants including vitamin E. But it is important to remember that olive oil is used to prepare vegetable dishes, tomato sauces, salads and to fry fish.

Fruit and vegetables

A high intake of fresh fruit and vegetables has been shown to be protective against both heart disease and cancer; probably because of the antioxidants they contain. Tomatoes have come under particular scrutiny because they feature so heavily in Mediterranean food. Tomatoes are indeed a major source of antioxidants and heat processing such as cooking, as in the preparation of tomato sauces is recommended as it increases the availability of lycopene, one of the main antioxidants in tomatoes.

Oily fish

It has also been suggested that fish, in particular oily fish such as sardines, have important health benefits. Oily fish are a source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats and the complex long chain derivatives of these fats appear to be particularly beneficial to heart health because of their anti-inflammatory and vasodilatory properties, which keeps blood flowing smoothly.

Wine in moderation

Throughout the Mediterranean wine is drunk in moderation and usually taken with meals. For men moderation is two glasses per day, for women one glass per day.
Wine, especially red wine, contains a vast array of plant compounds with health-promoting qualities called phytonutrients. Among them, polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants, protect against LDL oxidation and other pathologic sequelae of the oxidative process. Other phytonutrients play a role in the inhibition of platelet aggregation, vasodilation,etc.

Sources: DietTV, Diet 4 Uno Line

No related content found.