Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mediterranean Diet

Email this to a friend

According to several articles on health news bulletin, most people around the Mediterranean region (Greece, Cyprus, Monaco, France, Slovenia etc.) have rare cases of cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disorder which intrigued scientists for many decades because these people are known also to have large consumption of high fatty foods, later this mystery was attributed to their eating habit which became the subject of many research studies and now widely recognized as a Mediterranean diet.

So what is a Mediterranean Diet?

Mediterranean Diet refers to the type of nutritional diet followed by people in the Mediterranean region. This diet consists only of fruits, vegetables, olive oil and fish with below average intake of dairy products and red meat. This eating habit helps reduce the risks of developing diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. It prevents weight gain and promotes longevity.

According to a study conducted by Martinez-Gonzales in Europe, "Substantial protection against diabetes can be obtained by following a Mediterranean Diet". This means that people should lower their dairy products and red meat intakes and concentrate more in consuming monounsaturated fats foods, fruits, olive oil, fish, vegetables, legumes, nuts and cereals.

In the past years, a research study also revealed that women around the Mediterranean area have rare cases of developing breast cancer compared to women living in the United States where red meat and high fat intakes are very popular.

So to avoid the risk of developing chronic illnesses in the future, start following the Mediterranean Diet now before it's too late.

The Mediterranean emphasizes eating plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grain, eating fish and other sea food products, using olive oil or Canola oil instead of lard, butter, palm oil, coconut oil and other saturated fats-based oil, avoiding meat as much as possible or limit intake (just eat meat once every two weeks) and dairy products intake (eggs, chicken and other poultry products to at least twice a week only. Whole wheat bread is most preferred than white bread but it should not be spread with whipping cream, butter or any types of dressing. Avoid processed foods like hotdog, bacon, sausages, tocino and ham as they contain carcinogenic elements.

The idea of practising a Mediterranean diet is not on avoiding or limiting fat consumption, in fact Mediterranean people are known to have high consumption on fatty foods, but choose what type of fats you are consuming, for example use Olive oil, canola oil or flaxseed oil instead of palm oil, coconut oil, lard or other hydrogenated fats which heavily contribute to heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

Olive oil, avocado, canola oil, nuts, flaxseed are fatty foods but they are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which contain linolenic acid, a type of omega 3 fatty acid that protects people from coronary and heart diseases, cancer especially colorectal cancer and other illnesses. These foods are antioxidants which fight free radicals.

Foods composed of Mediterranean Diet:
  • Fish
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Cereals
  • Whole Grain (whole wheat bread, brown rice)
  • Nuts
  • Olive Oil 
Mediterranean Diet Pyramid:
  • 25% Whole Grains
  • 25% Vegetables and Fruits
  • 20% Olive oil in variable amount
  • 20% Fish
  • 6% Poultry and Dairy products
  • 2% Sweets
  • 2% Meat
Benefits of Mediterranean Diet:
  • Rich in antioxidants which fight free-radicals, the primary cause of chronic illnesses and premature aging
  • Prevents heart and cardiovascular diseases
  • Reduces the risk of Cancer especially Breast and Colon cancers
  • Reduces the risks of Diabetes, Obesity and Chronic brochitis and emphysema
  • Protects from Alzheimer's disease
  • Improves life span and quality of life
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Promotes weight loss and healthy digestive tract
  • Helps resist depression
Example of typical Mediterranean Meal preparations (which I practiced at least twice a week)

  • Brown Rice
  • Broccoli and Carrots cooked in Olive Oil with Garlic and Onions (or any other green leafy vegetables)
  • Banana or Orange 
  • Green Tea with Honey
  • Brown Rice
  • Asparagus and Broccoli cooked in *Olive Oil with Garlic, tomatoes and Onions
  • Fish
  • Mango
  • Orange or Kalamansi Juice (from Puree)
  • Whole Wheat Bread or one bowl of Oatmeal/Cereals
  • Fruits
  • One glass of hot (low fat) milk
*Olive oil is a bit expensive, if you are not comfortable with the high price of olive oil, try to choose canola oil or flaxseed oil.


No comments:

Post a Comment