The Mediterranean diet is the name that has been given to a particular dietary regimen that was originally used by people in poorer regions of Italy and Greece for many centuries. This diet was not originally thought to be particularly healthy in these regions, as the people ate these foods because of necessity, rather than because of the Mediterranean diet weight loss and excellent nutrition benefits they experienced. This type of cuisine is far different from what you might expect from this region, but it is overall much healthier because things like lard and butter are rarely used.
What It Entails
Basically, a Mediterranean diet calls for people to eat a great deal of fresh fruit, plant foods, fish, poultry, some dairy products, while using extra virgin olive oil as the primary source of fat. Also, a moderate amount of eggs can be eaten each month, while red meat is to be avoided as much as possible. Red meat can be eaten in low amounts, but meals should not be centered around it because of how it affects the heart. The Mediterranean diet is meant to lower the risk of heart disease, since olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which have been known to reduce this risk substantially. This also reduces the body’s cholesterol levels, which is also a positive thing for the body.
History of the Mediterranean Diet
Even though this diet was first brought to light in 1945, it did not really hit mainstream levels until the 1990s, when people began to develop a newfound awareness of what they were eating. This is around the time that exercise shows began appearing on television and healthy eating began to become popular again. The Mediterranean diet is based on the idea that people in these regions have a much lower rate of heart disease than people with similar fat intake in other areas of the world. For example, a person living in the United States and a person living in Greece could consume the exact same amount of fat year after year, but the American would have a higher chance of suffering from heart disease because he or she is missing certain elements from his or her diet.
Influences on Health
The main ingredient in a Mediterranean diet that is believed to have the most influence on a person’s health is extra virgin olive oil. This is because the diet is inherently low in saturated fat, but the olive oil makes it high in monounsaturated fat, which (as previously mentioned) is good for your heart. The Mediterranean diet is also very high in dietary fiber, which promotes regularity of the digestive system. The diet can sometimes be high in salt, when is contains:
- Salad dressing
- Fish roe
This salt content is not necessarily a negative thing however, because those items contain natural salts the body can use and absorb more comfortably.
One thing that many people might not realize about Mediterranean diet weight loss is that the people who originated the diet generally worked outdoors and reaonably hard. This means they were getting plenty of exercise each and every day, in addition to fresh air. This, in combination with the small portions these individuals would eat, led to very lean and muscular bodies. This assisted heart health of course, which is another reason why they suffered far fewer deaths from cardiovascular problems.
A number of medical studies have been conducted on the Mediterranean diet and they have found that men who lived in Crete, which is one of the regions where this diet was originally used, had a low incidence of heart disease. This occurred despite the fact they actually consumed high amounts of fats in many cases. One of the main reasons for this finding is that many of these men switched from butter to extra virgin olive oil because it was less expensive. They also had a high vitamin C intake and reduced the amount of red meat compared to other parts of the globe. It should be noted that the findings of this study were so dramatic that the results were published before the study had been completed. This was because the people who were conducting the study did not believe they could keep the information to themselves any longer. Other diseases and illnesses which have been positively affected from this diet include osteoporosis, minimising the risk of some forms of cancer, allergies, alzheimers disease and there are more studies being undertaken as I write this article.
Further studies have shown instances of Mediterranean diet weight loss, as 322 people participated in an experiment where some people were subject to a low-carb diet, others undertook a low-fat diet, and some ate only a Mediterranean diet. The results showed that those who were on the Mediterranean diet had the greatest weight loss of all, with the top two participants losing 12 and 10 pounds respectively. The study highlighted that Mediterranean diet weight loss is effective and should be considered by anyone who is having trouble losing weight.
Why Choose the Mediterranean Lifestyle
The Mediterranean diet is not just a way to lose weight, but is a way to entirely change your life, and in doing so, helping to prolong it. The health benefits are endless, especially when they are combined with exercise, making this nutrition adventure something definitely worth looking into. The bottom line is – those who are on this diet have lower mortality rates than those who are not, which is reason enough to give it a try. If you have a history of heart disease in your family, you really cannot afford to continue the same path and now you have an alternative.
The Power of the Mediterranean Diet