Mediterranean diet is extremely healthy. More precisely, it represents a lifestyle based on eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil. This diet is a proof that people can live healthily without eating plenty of meat!
More than 50 years ago, the benefits of the Mediterranean diet on people’s health were underlined. The key words of this diet are fruit, vegetables, and extra virgin olive oil. The results are longevity (average life span of 90 years), low incidence of heart diseases and obesity. The inventors of this wonderful lifestyle are the inhabitants of the Greek island Crete, but it is adopted by all the Mediterranean area inhabitants: Greek, the South of Italy, the South of France, part of North Africa and the Middle East.
Because of the light products they frequently have, Mediterranean diet adepts very rarely suffer from heart diseases and they do not fear high cholesterol values. Comparatively, in countries where diet is traditionally based on saturate fats (meat, fat cheese), USA for example, there are many people who suffer from heart problems.
Countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea have different cultures, religions and habits and of course, different eating preferences and constraints. However, some essential rules are kept everywhere. These rules have never been imposed, but naturally, their plates are full of green vegetables, fruit, and fish, mixed with olive oil. In some areas, in Crete for example, red meat is eaten only several times a year and fish is nevertheless eaten moderately as they prefer vegetables. They do not eat eggs or products based on eggs, but about four times a week. A third of the calories that are necessary to the body are taken from the olive oil that contains unsaturated fat acids. Cheese, cereals, and honey are also a significant part of this diet. Nonetheless, a glass of wine completes the pleasure of eating. Because of its multiple properties, the daily consumption of a glass of red wine is recommended. All the inhabitants of Crete in general eat dishes based on integral wheat.
A very important role in the fragrance of the Mediterranean food, which is cooked very simply (the grill being the main technique), is played by spices: basil, thyme, oregano, mint, caraway etc. They do not only satisfy gustative papillae, but they also play an important role in keeping people healthy.
Basil has an antibiotic, antimicrobial action. It can also help in the case of cough or water retention. It is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory at the level of the gastric, renal, and intestinal area. Besides, it has calming effect on nerves.
Thyme has curative effect on the body. Thyme tea is beneficial in water retention and it has tonic properties.
Oregano is symbol of happiness for Greek people. It contains volatile oils and prevents some bacteria breeding. The elements it contains have antioxidant effect (1 g of oregano is 42 times better in the case of cells oxidation than an apple is). It contains fibers, iron, calcium, omega 3 acids and the vitamins K, A, C. It is useful as well in the case of diarrhea treatment, flatulence, and intestinal parasites.
Mint improves digestion, alleviates headaches, keeps the liver healthy, and favors breathing.