The Mediterranean Diet has a number of things that one can get behind and support. Great food, exercise, family and even a little wine. What could be better? Let’s dig a little deeper and discover why this diet is so popular.
The Mediterranean diet is intended to mimic the dietary choices of the residents of those countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. Specifically this list of countries includes the traditional cuisine of Spain, France, Italy, Greece and parts of the Middle East. The studies have shown that not only can you reduce your weight while on this diet, but you can also improve the health of your heart.
How The Mediterranean Diet Works
While each country puts their own cultural spin on the diet, the base elements remain the same:
- Lots of fruit and vegetables
- Bread and cereals
- Potatoes, beans, seeds and nuts
- Olive oil is a key part of the diet
- Eggs up to four times a week
- Wine in small to moderate amounts
- Very little red meat, but you can have chicken and plenty of fish
The Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle than just a diet. As such it promotes a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of regular exercise, at least 30 minutes a day. It also recommends that you share your meals with friends and family, helping to promote a tight social bond.
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study (2004) of the effects of the Mediterranean diet on 3,000 Greek men and women. The study found that those on the diet had statistically lower levels of blood clotting markers and inflammation.
Wageningen University in the Netherlands produced another study that showed amazing results of the effects of the diet on elderly people living in European countries. The results showed:
- Those on the diet reduced their risk of death by 23%
- Those who exercised 30 minutes a day reduced their risk of death by 37%
- Those who drank low to moderate amounts reduced their risk of death by 22%
- Those who were non-smokers reduced their risk of death by 22%
The major finding was that those who exhibited all four factors reduced their risk of death from all causes by 65%. Furthermore, the New England Journal of Medicine (2003) published another study that showed that those on the Mediterranean diet reduced their risk of heart disease by 33% and reduced their cancer rate by 24%. The American Medical Association (AMA) also recommends the diet as a good way to reduce one’s bad cholesterol levels while at the same time promoting good cholesterol.
The Mediterranean diet is an excellent plan for reducing your weight, promoting healthy exercise and even tightening family bonds. A shared meal goes a long way towards promoting a healthy family life. For those who are allergic to fish (or shellfish in particular), this diet may not work as planned. However there are substitutes that you can employ and the benefits from exercise and the other constituents of the diet will promote a health heart and reduce your risk of death.
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