Saturday, September 22, 2012

Getting Healthy: The Power of Mediterranean Diets

The Power
of Mediterranean Diets

Mediterranean Diet
Mediterranean Diet: Yummy Food with High Fat Content – but without the Fat related Cardiovascular Diseases
Would you like to eat fatty foods and yet live long? Then read this post below in its entirety.

The Paradox of Mediterranean Diets

Have you ever wondered how come the Greek Gods were able to maintain their fabulous physiques? The answer may have been the Mediterranean Diet – which is based on the dietary patterns of the Mediterranean countries.
This diet is often considered to be a paradox: Although the people living in Mediterranean countries tend to consume relatively high amounts of fat, they have far lower rates of cardiovascular disease than in countries like the United States, where similar levels of fat consumption are found.
One of the explanations for this could be the use of olive oil in the Mediterranean Diet. Unlike other cooking oils, olive oil lowers the cholesterol level in the blood. It reduces the blood sugar levels and blood pressure as well.

Here are some of the characteristics of the Mediterranean Diet:

  • Food is mainly comprised of plant sources such as fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
  • The diet consists of minimally processed foods. It includes fruits and vegetables in large quantities
  • Olive oil is used mainly in cooking. It is the main source of fat instead of other non-healthy products.
  • Dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt are consumed in small amounts on a daily basis
  • Red meat is consumed only a couple of times a month
  • Eggs are consumed not more than 4 times per week
  • Fish and chicken are consumed only one to three times a week. However, fish is preferred over chicken
  • Wine is consumed in moderation, mostly with meals
  • Honey is the main sweetener

Here are a few simple tips to help you follow the Mediterranean Diet:

  • First of all, replace your regular vegetable cooking oil with olive oil, which is easily available at most stores and supermarkets.
  • Reduce your red meat intake. You could substitute it with chicken or fish instead.
  • Have fish once or twice a week. Choose from salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel and herring.
  • Increase your intake of fruits. For dessert you could have a bowl of fresh fruit. Choose from a variety of fruits.
  • Keep nuts such as almonds, hazel nuts, & walnuts handy for a quick snack.
  • Reduce your consumption of eggs. When baking cakes and other goodies, use

Suitable alternatives

  • Use whole grain products instead of white flour products. For example: Replace your usual bread with brown bread.
  • Choose natural peanut butter instead of the variety with hydrogenated fat added. Also, use butter sparingly.
  • Reduce your consumption of high-fat dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt.
  • Enjoy a glass of red wine along with your meals. (You should check with your doctor first)
  • Use honey as a sweetener in your cookies and desserts.
Image credit: Somewhat Frank

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