The Mediterranean diet is a delicious and heart-healthy way of eating. It is even considered as the world’s healthiest diet. Med diet is a combination of a number of different cultures and traditions, all clashed and brought up through history. The Mediterranean Sea provided a very important route for merchants and travelers, which also is the reason why it got its name “Crossroads for Exchanges”.
Basically, this diet is popularized by its simplicity in adopting a natural method of living enabling people to remain fit and healthy. It also incorporates the basics of eating natural and utilizing the healthy merits of traditional cooking.
Named as one of the best ways in preventing many diseases and promoting a good lifestyle, it does not just improves the overall state of your health but also helps in preventing metabolic syndrome which is usually caused by having too much fat around the waist, or even high blood pressure. It has also been recently related to the decrease in the incidences of having many types of cancer.
An essential and traditional ingredient that is needed according to this diet is plant foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, potatoes, cereals, herbs, spices, pasta, and rice. It also features the usage of olive oil (Virgin or extra virgin olive oils) as the primary source of fat. This diet encourages people to avoid saturated and hydrogenated oils or fats, and promotes the usage of monounsaturated fat. This type of fat helps in reducing the LDL cholesterol level.
Another characteristic of this diet is the use of wine. Studies have shown that moderate intake of this naturally produced beverage is very good in reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Although this diet is primarily based on plant foods, it also takes advantage of the products provided by nature, both from land and water. Fish is advised to be taken in big amounts specially the oily or bluish one. Poultry can be taken in moderate amount and red meat occasionally.
Research showed that people who follow this particular diet have a 70% increase in life expectancy, and an 80% increase in the quality of life. The Mediterranean diet can be used as a guide on what to eat and especially in knowing what NOT to eat. Modern artificial food exists in huge numbers compared to 5 decades ago. They contain trans-fat which is inadvertently caused by artificially hydrogenated products, responsible for increasing the number of bad cholesterol (LDL) compared to the good cholesterol (HDL).
The 5 basic pillars of med diet are:
- Getting enough exercise
Getting enough exercise will keep the metabolism running and will aid in burning excess fats in the body.
- Eating plant-based foods
Eating plant-based food such as fruits and vegetables is very important. This can make up the majority of your meals since they are available in great variety. Fruits are also considered as desserts for this diet.
- Consumption of nuts as snacks
Consumption of nuts for snacks is advised compared to eating those that have hydrogenated fat. Some of these are walnuts, almonds, and pistachios.
- Fish for meat
Fish as a substitute for red meat is strongly advised. Grilled fish is preferred compared to fried, unless it is cooked using canola or olive oil.
- Spice it up
It encourages people to use herbs and spices as a substitute for salt.
Living healthy is readily available to everyone. It is just a matter of choice if we will go green and promote nature. Nature (widely addressed as a woman) indeed is the greatest provider. Through the ages, she really lives up to the name that was given to her, which is Mother.
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