The Mediterranean Diet: a Way to Better Health
The Mediterranean diet originates from some of the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. They include Spain, Italy, and Greece among others. This diet focuses on the consumption of legumes, fruits, olive oil, unrefined cereals, fish, and vegetables. It also encourages people to consume moderate amounts of cheese, milk, and yogurt among other dairy products. Furthermore, wine features prominently in this diet. Finally, this eating regime allows for the consumption of red meat even though it does not encourage it.
The seven nations study
Ancel Keys, a scientist specializing in the development of healthy diets, analyzed the relationship between heart disease and a healthy diet. The data for his analysis came from seven different countries. These countries were Finland, Japan, Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia, Croatia, and the United States. The study involved 12,763 male participants aged between 40 to 59 years old. It started in 1956, and it continued for over 50 years. Keys found that deaths from heart disease in Northern Europe and the US far exceeded those witnessed in Southern Europe. Further examination of this phenomenon revealed that the Mediterranean diet played a key role in preventing heart disease among people in Southern Europe.
A few of the many health benefits of the Mediterranean diet
Apart from helping you fight heart disease, the Mediterranean diet has many other health benefits. For example, this eating regime reduces your risk of developing cancer. In fact, an article in European Journal of Cancer Prevention states that this particular diet encourages biological mechanisms in the body that fight off cancer.
These mechanisms include limiting DNA damage, stopping the mutation of cells, and delaying the growth of tumors. Another study published in BMJ Journals seems to suggest that the Mediterranean diet considerably reduces a person’s chances of developing diabetes.
How to follow the Mediterranean diet
It is important to note that this diet is not a diet per se. Instead, this eating regime is a lifestyle that offers you delicious meals and drinks. In other words, it does not encourage you to abandon eating or to limit your intake. What you have to do is to start eating Mediterranean foods.
For example, you should eat servings of fruit and vegetables each day. You should also opt for olive oil in your salads and any other dishes that require oil. Additionally, you should go for four ounces of fish each week or so. Dairy products plays a considerable role in the Mediterranean diet, but try to choose low-fat ones. Finally, you may indulge yourself in a little wine during your evening meals.