Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

by Brad from Brad's Healthy Lifestyle

Where did the Greek, or Mediterranean diet begin? It all started with the ancient peoples around the Aegean Sea approximately a thousand years before Christ.

Mens sana in corpore sano
(A healthy mind in a healthy body)

The ancient Greeks paid special attention to nutritional matters because they believed that a proper diet was a precondition for the well being of the body and the mind. In fact, a healthy diet and nutritional intervention were very common means of maintaining health.

The Mediterranean Diet

Rich in Vegetables, Fruits and Fish

The Mediterranean diet is a plant-based diet, rich in olive oil, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Such a diet with a wide variety of plant foods means you are getting plenty of complex carbohydrates and fiber from coarsely ground grains and phytonutrient antioxidants.

The frequent fish and shellfish in the Mediterranean diet provided a source of healthy fats. In ancient Greece, and today in cultures that still follow traditional diets, people consumed roughly equal amounts of two classes of fatty acids – the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Whiy is Fish Oil Good for You?

The frequent intake of fish in the Mediterranean countries helps to restore the healthy original balance. And the dairy products – such as yogurt and feta cheese – produced from grazing animals are higher in essential fatty acids than dairy products from grain-fed cattle.

Fat intake is one of the most interesting aspects of the traditional Greek diet – over 30 percent of calories. In this case, what is normally considered to be bad turns out to be good. That’s because most of this fat is consumed in the form of olive oil.

Olive Oil is "Good Fat"

Olive oil is high in monosaturated fats, which are relatively healthy fats, resistant to oxidation. The primary monosaturated fat, oleic acid, is found in large quantities in almonds and avocados, as well as olives. However, the most important ingredient in olives and olive oil is possibly the phenolic antioxidants, a class of antioxidants found only in olives.

Be sure to use only Extra Virgin Olive Oil, because all other Olive oil are of a lesser quality. If you don't happen to travel to Greece or Italy anytime soon, you can also buy it online at Amazon :-)

Another important component of this diet is the wine taken at most meals, but in moderation. This is where the proanthocyanidins come in. Consuming two to three glasses of wine per day with meals is associated with healthy cardiovascular function and overall good health.

Each of us can incorporate many of these elements into our own way of eating and developing a healthy lifestyle.

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