Discover the secrets of the Mediterranean diet
There are many benefits to the Mediterranean diet. This eating plan came about in 2003, when scientists observed the eating habits of Greeks and Italians over the course of four years. They found that these people were actually healthier than many Westerners due to the abundance of nutrients and healthy fats in their diets. Now, the Mediterranean diet has taken off in North America as one of the best (and tastiest!) diets to follow.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
To really understand the Mediterranean diet, you need to look at the Mediterranean diet pyramid, which explains how Greeks and Italians eat. To follow this Mediterranean food pyramid, you will need to include:
- Olive oil. This is used almost exclusively in every single meal. No butter or hydrogenated oil is used to cook with, and even bread is dipped into olive oil instead of buttered. Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fat, which is proven to lower cholesterol and carry a source of antioxidants like vitamin E.
- Fish. "Oily" fish like salmon is a high source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are proven to lower cholesterol. Plus, fish is a delicious way to get extra protein into your diet, too.
- Fruits and vegetables. Eating a high number of fruits and veggies every day provides the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need in order to feel healthy. Mediterranean people live in a culture where fruits and vegetables are a main part of every meal.
- Wine. One or two glasses of red wine a day can help lower cholesterol and prevent blood clotting, as well as lower your risk of certain kinds of cancers.
It's really not a surprise that Mediterranean cuisine is healthier for you than other types of cooking – it just so happens that Mediterranean diet food follows the American Heart Association's recommendations almost exactly, which makes it a great heart-healthy diet low in cholesterol. Plus, it's delicious; of all the healthy diets out there, it's one of the easiest to follow.
If you want to start eating like the Greeks do, grab a Mediterranean cookbook and start picking out recipes that appeal to you and your family. If you incorporate some proper exercise, you may find that you'll start losing weight and will feel a lot healthier.