As we discussed on our last post the mediterranean diet is about a highly beneficial nutritional program originating in the Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain.
Combined with regular exercise has an abundance of benefits on the overall human health.
What is peculiar is that whilst the people in these Mediterranean countries consume large amounts of foods rich in fats, they have a low incidence of cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease and heart attacks.
The explanation lies in the fact that the fats incorporated in this diet are represented primarily by mono- unsaturated fats. This diet is also rich in dietary fiber and very low in saturated fats (less than 8%). Mono-unsaturated fats are mainly found in olive oil (more than 75%), almond oil, whole cereals (unrefined and unprocessed), whole milk products, avocados and nuts.
7,500 people were observed in a 2013 experiment that lasted over a period of 5 years and revealed the fact that those on a Mediterranean diet lowered by 30% the risk of having a heart disease when compared to people on a low-fat diet alone. Furthermore, recent studies have also shown that this diet also provides better weight loss results than both the low-fat and low-carb diets.
With your busy and hectic schedule/way of life, how can you include the Mediterranean diet into your lifestyle, in order to help you maintain optimum health and lower the risk of heart disorders, cancer, diabetes, premature death and Alzheimer s and Parkinson’s disease?
Well, fear not, the solution is fairly simple: At first, you might find it difficult to switch to this diet from your regular one, but the easiest way to integrate this healthy diet into your agitated lifestyle is to make the change gradually. The Mediterranean diet is very high in essential nutrients which provide a sensation of satiety.
The main issue with the fast food culture as the core of unhealthy diets is the fact that we eat, but we do not feed ourselves. The Mediterranean diet reverses this fact, because it is based chiefly on consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, moderate consumption of fish, poultry and dairy products as well as of red wine and of course the star of this diet, the extra virgin olive oil.
Therefore, there is no need to worry about missing your old diet because your body will be given all the essential nutrients that prevent it from craving your previous diet and, as a bonus, you will be pumped up with extra energy throughout the day. Once you have begun to incorporate it progressively into your lifestyle, not only you will feel the difference in terms of well-being and increased levels of energy, but you will realize that the Mediterranean diet represents a lifestyle in itself, which you can make it your own.
The first step you need to take in order to make this diet an integral and intrinsic part of your life is to consume all your salads dressed with olive oil and then incorporate a larger variety of vegetables/legumes in addition to your favorite ones.
Studies have shown that the oleic acid found in extra virgin olive oil lowers the LDL cholesterol (the bad one) while increasing the HDL cholesterol (the good one) and in addition, it decreases the risk of hypertension and it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
When you adopt this healthy diet, it is important to drink plenty of water, because together they help you eliminate the toxins accumulated as a result of your previous diet and thus, cleanse your body properly. Moreover, this diet contains by its nature a high level of salt, so there is no need to add extra salt to your meals. A delicious, fresh and healthy salad, which is very easy to make is the Greek salad, which in addition to tasty vegetables like, tomatoes and cucumbers also contains feta cheese, olives and oregano, the most used Greek spice.
On our next post we will continue the discussion, for now feel free to comment!