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08 Feb THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET – A TREASURE ON OUR PLATE

Scientific research leaves no doubt that the Mediterranean diet is a path towards good health. Olive oil, legumes, fruits, vegetables and fish help our body to better defend itself against disease. So what exactly are the benefits of this diet and what should we be doing to follow it?

The Mediterranean diet is the diet of the people who live in regions in which Olive trees grow such as Greece, Italy, Spain and countries of the Middle East that have Mediterranean coastlines. The diet is based on that of Crete and Southern Italy, which emphasizes the consumption of legumes, olive oil, grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, moderate consumption of fish, white meat and wine and rarely eating red meat.

BENEFITS FOR OUR HEALTH
Mediterranean people live longer and suffer less heart disease. Scientists came to the conclusion that that must be the beneficial result of consuming olive oil, which is packed full of healthy fats and the rich amount of fibers found in fruits and vegetables. The consumption of olive oil, rich in antioxidants helps lower the risk of heart attacks, controls blood pressure and reduces cholesterol.

Furthermore, the light consumption of alcohol that is rich in flavones and also antioxidant features furthers the reduction of heart disease. The results of a 15 year study were published in a medical journal, Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) which stated that people who follow the Mediterranean diet and a healthy way of living with some light exercise in their weekly routines managed to lower deaths from heart problems by 50% (Mediterranean diet, lifestyle factors, and 10-year mortality in elderly European men and women: the HALE project. Knoops K.T, de Groot, L.C, Kromhout, D, Perrin, A.E, Moreiras-Varela, O, Menotti, A and van Staveren, W.A. JAMA. 2004 Sep 22; 292(12): 1433-9).

The Mediterranean diet has been proven to help lower the risk of developing diabetes. Another positive result is the weight loss; about 3.8kg more than dieting with a low-in-fat-diet. People that follow the Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of developing Parkinson disease or Alzheimer. The study of the Mediterranean diet showed that the high consumption of fibers and low red meat consumption is linked to a reduced risk of having a Stroke.

The Mediterranean diet not only helps us to lose or stabilize our weight, it also helps to adopt a healthy way of eating not only for us, but the whole family so that our children can be taught to eat healthily too.