Looking and feeling good is what everyone wants. Exercising and eating right are the only ways to achieve this. People need food in order to have the energy to do certain things.
One way to lose weight and still maintain a healthy lifestyle is by only eating foods that are low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated ones that are being done by the Mediterranean diet.
This is called the Mediterranean diet because the eating plan comes from those who live along the Mediterranean Sea.
This was first discovered after the end of the Second World War by an American doctor but never became popular until the 1990’s.
The reason why many people in these countries are healthy and are able to live for more than a hundred years is because of the large amounts of olive oil consumed in each meal.
Another contributing factor is also in the red wine, which also has antioxidants properties.
The difference of the Mediterranean Diet compared to others out there is that the person does not have to give up anything but simply make some wise food choices.
This means avoiding eating processed foods or those from tinned cans and getting those that are fresh.
This diet involves eating food in large, moderate and small quantities. The person should eat a lot of food such as beans, bread, cereals, fruits, grains and nuts since these contain minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that are good for the body.
On a moderate level, the individual can have cheese, milk, and yogurt since this will prevent the consumption of other things that are high in saturated fats.
The type of products that should be consumed lightly is animal meat such as fish, pork, chicken, and eggs, which can be done a few times in a month.
The Mediterranean diet teaches the individual to eat right. In order to live healthy like these people who live by the sea, it is best to engage in some form of physical activity to be able to burn those extra calories.
A few simple examples could be brisk walking, jogging and running. Those who want to exercise in a group could try a team sport such as basketball or by joining a class at the local gym.
Who wants to live forever? Perhaps that will be a question to ask those who have reached a hundred. This may not have been the plan but it has happened especially to those who are living along the Mediterranean Sea.
What Is The Mediterranean Diet?
In 1993, the Harvard Medical School released the results of research that studied the diets of those countries bordering on the Mediterranean.
Their findings suggested that fat and carbohydrates were NOT the main culprits in obesity and heart disease, but rather that the RIGHT fats and carbohydrates should be the base for a healthy diet.
The study pointed to low rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease throughout the region as proof of their contention.
Exactly what is the Mediterranean diet and can it help you lose weight?
There actually is no ‘Mediterranean’ diet – it’s a compilation of the way that people in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea eat.
Despite the differences in actual specifics, all of those studied based their diets on the same proportions of food groups and calories, and all included olive oil as their main source of fat.
In fact, their diets contained far more than the recommendations made by the USDA – 40% rather than the 30% recommended for most healthy Americans.
Still, the evidence was irrefutable. Therefore, it must have been the KIND of carbohydrates and fats that make the difference.
The Mediterranean diet consists of the following guidelines:
60% of Total Carbohydrates from Grains, Fruits, and Vegetables
Those include whole rice, fresh vegetables, and fruits, whole grain bread, and cereals, polenta, pasta, made with whole grain, not refined white flour.
Sparing Use of Red Meat, Fish, and Poultry
The typical adult Mediterranean consumes about 15 ounces of red meat and poultry per week.
The 5-15 ounces of fish per week account for the bulk of their meat protein intake.
Compare that to the typical American diet which might include a 1 pound steak for dinner one night, a 1/2 pound chicken breast the next, and on and on.
Olive oil is not a miracle oil. It is, however, mono-unsaturated – a good fat.
Monounsaturated fats help lower cholesterol rather than raising it and are healthy ways to add fats to your diet.
The other important component of the Mediterranean lifestyle was activity.
The typical Mediterranean day includes walking rather than driving, physical activity in the fields or the home and recreation.
Physical activity is vital in helping the body to lose weight, and to maintain your new weight once you reach it.
The secret to losing weight with the Mediterranean diet is to base your meals on healthy carbohydrates – leafy green vegetables, brightly colored vegetables, whole grains, and meals. Use meat sparingly – no more than 3-6 ounces per day.
Derive dietary fat from vegetable sources – or from fish oil. In addition, exercise regularly to rev up your metabolism.
The Mediterranean diet isn’t a weight loss regimen. It’s a new way of eating that will help you reach your goal weight and stay there when you get there.
Long live the Mediterranean Diet!
The ancient Mediterranean civilization is rich with stories of grandeur and historic events.
It is one of the most distinguished civilizations that have positively influenced other cultures around the world.
The geographical location of the Mediterranean allowed its people to influence the other continents.
The Mediterranean became a cauldron for cultures from Mesopotamia, India, and China.
The history of the Mediterranean region is the history of the interaction of the cultures and people of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
It was the ancient central superhighway of transport, trade, and cultural exchange between diverse people.
Its history is important to understanding the origin and development of the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Persian, Phoenician, Jewish, Greek, Roman, Arab, and Turkish cultures.
In fact, the Mediterranean is crucial to understanding the development of the Western civilization.
However, the Mediterranean not only contributed to humanity in terms of history. The word “Mediterranean” is now closely associated with a popular and effective diet.
The Mediterranean diet is a nutritional concept which is founded on the principle that the consumption of olive oil and wine will lower the risk of heart disease and obesity.
There are many variations of Mediterranean diet due to social, political and economic differences between Mediterranean countries.
However, the Mediterranean diet does share one common characteristic. It is the large consumption of olive oil, which dominates all Mediterranean meals.
In contrast to the standard American diet, the diet of the Mediterranean people includes primarily fresh, seasonal vegetables rather than canned or imported produce.
The diet contains low to moderate amounts of dairy products, fish and poultry, very little red meat, eggs, wine, and beer.
The diet contains a fairly high amount of fat, yet the people have less heart disease because they eat healthy fats like olive oil.
The fish tend to be oily fish like sardines that are high in Omega-3 oils. The diet eliminates fried foods that have been cooked in rancid vegetable oils or trans fats.
People who tried the classic Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fruits, olive oil, cereals, and fish are said to live longer and are healthier.
But a study in Greece has shown that it is the diet as a whole, rather than any specific individual component, that confers health benefits.
Researchers from the University of Athens and the Harvard School of Public Health recorded the eating habits of 22,000 Greek people and followed their subsequent health and mortality for an average of 3.7 years.
It shows that people, who ate a diet rich in typical Mediterranean ingredients were less likely to die, suffer coronary heart disease or cancer during the follow-up period.
Such result of low incidents of heart disease and death rates in the Mediterranean countries has resulted from other countries to look for help from their Mediterranean neighbors with their diet.
However, before anyone should try a Mediterranean diet, more studies are needed to find out whether the diet itself or other lifestyle factors account for the lower deaths and heart diseases.
If these studies prove that the Mediterranean diet is an effective way of reducing heart disease then it will have a significant effect on the health community.
It also goes to show that the Mediterranean never stopped giving us reasons to rejoice and be in this civilization.
Mediterranean Diet Information
Mediterranean diet is basically the dietary traditions followed by the people of Greece, Spain, and southern Italy who live around the Mediterranean Sea.
It has been studied by an American Dr. Ancel Keys when he landed in Greece in 1945. He discovered that the people of Greece and Spain had longer life expectancy and didn’t have any major health problem.
Their diet mainly consists of lots of food from plant sources freshly eaten minimally processed, locally grown, and seasonal and very little food from animal sources
Foods mainly are fresh fruits, vegetables, sea fresh fish, herbs, bread, grains, nuts and seeds, non-refined oils like olive oil which is 25% to 35% of fat consumed and low consumption of saturated fats, moderate consumption of cheese and yoghurt, honey and fresh fruits for desserts, lots of fresh fish and non-refined cereals.
Vegetables consumed should be at least 1 pound and red meat consumed sparingly only.
Lots of physical activity and consumption of wine if taken should only be 1 glass for women and 2 glasses for men daily with meals.
Fruits are mainly grapes, raisins olives, avocado, strawberries, raspberries, currant, blueberries grapes, black olives, orange, apple, pear, figs, pomegranates, dates, passion fruits, cherry, apricot, grapefruit, peach, prunes, quince, bergamot, and plums.
Vegetables are spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, white peach, bell pepper, carrot, beetroot, tomato, onion, shallots, scallions, green onion, celery, eggplant, capers, cucumber, lemon, Zucchini, white and red cabbage, mushroom, grapevine leaves, artichokes, potatoes, sweet corn and gherkin.
Grains are mainly pasta, couscous, rice, polenta, bulgur etc.
Legumes are carob, peas, beans, lima beans, chickpea, and lentils.
Herbs and spices used are anise, basil, bay leaves, borage, peppercorns, garlic, chilies, chamomile, chervil, chives, dill, fennel, lavender, marjoram, mint, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, sesame seeds, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, tarragon, and thyme, vanilla, mahaleb, red saffron, masticha, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin and caraway.
Cheese used are mainly from sheep and goats milk – bocconcini, edam, feta, halloumi, kasseri, kefalograviera, kefalotyri, roquefort cheese, mozzarella, mitzithra, manouri, manchego, peciino toscano , mascarpone, parmesan, and pecorino, anthotyro, xynotyri, ladotyri, anevato and batzos.
Nuts are almonds, fennel, poppy, sesame, pistachio nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pine nuts, and chestnuts.
Fish and fillets are herring, salmon, trout, tuna, anchovies, sardines, mackerels, cod, and carp.
Seafood like octopus, clams, mussels and squids are also eaten.
A wide variety of these foods consumed daily has been found to be very good for the heart as well.