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The Mediterranean Diet - Oh So Tasty
Just to give credit where it's due, I found the following article about
this awesome diet at:
Definitely check it out. It's delicious food PLUS it's actually good
for you. I was sold immediately!!!
Yes, there is more to the Mediterranean than sun, beach and wine...
there is the Mediterranean Diet...
For many years now the inhabitants of countries bordering the
Mediterranean Sea - (such as southern Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece,
Turkey, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon and Israel) have been
considered to be among the healthiest in the world enjoying both high
life expectancy plus showing health benefits like low incidence of
chronic diseases and in recent years many studies have been made to
discover why and if it has to do with more than just the sunshine!
Traditionally, their diet has been based on the livestock, fishing and
agriculture of their land and reliance on foods from a rich diversity
of plant sources including fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans and seeds.
In Northern Africa for example, couscous, vegetables and legumes form
the centre of the diet, in the Eastern Mediterranean, bulgar and rice
along with vegetables and legumes and in Southern Europe, the basis is
formed by rice, polenta, pasta with plenty of vegetables and legumes
and everywhere bread is eaten at most meals (but without butter!).
Nutritional research has shown the advantages of a diet HIGH in
vegetables, fruits, grains, monounsaturated fats and various complex
carbohydrates but LOW in cholesterol and certain forms of saturated fat
and led to greater public awareness.
It is true that these foods, like those foods consumed by the rest of
Europe and the United States are rich in fat, BUT... of a different
Let me explain this: There are three types of dietary fats:
· Saturated fats, (from animals)
· Polyunsaturated fats (from plants, seeds, nuts and vegetables)
· mono saturated fats (olive oil). Olive oil isn't only delicious (and
somewhat expensive) but it's also rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, E
and K as well as iron.
The health and therapeutic benefits of olive oil are vast: namely?
· it does not have the same cholesterol raising effects as the
saturated fats found in animal fats
· it contains anti-oxidants that discourage clogging of the arteries
and chronic diseases including cancer
· and it also has lubricating properties in so far as it acts as a
laxative, aids digestion and protects the intestine from ulcers.
Now, this "Mediterranean diet" - (though not exactly a diet in the
´slimmers´ sense of the word), has led to a style of eating that is a
move away from relying on manufactured food stuffs to recipes
consisting of natural and healthy ingredients eaten raw or minimally
So WHAT typically comprises "The Mediterranean Diet?"
When, in 1993, The Harvard University School of Public Health and
Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust (a Boston based educational
organisation) held a conference on the Mediterranean diet and its
influence on public health, reviewing data concerned with the dietary
traditions of those countries bordering the Mediterranean, the
committee developed the "Mediterranean Food Guide Pyramid", the main
points of which are summarised as follows:
· plenty of food from plant sources, including fruit, vegetables,
breads and grains, beans, nuts and seeds
· use of Olive Oil replacing other fats and oils
· fresh fruit daily
· Seasonally fresh and locally grown foods in preference to processed
· Saturated fat should constitute less than 20 per cent of total
· small amounts of cheese and yoghurt (containing live cultures which
may contribute to good health)
· daily moderate amounts of fish and poultry weekly and only a few
· very little red meat
· a glass of wine (especially red) with meals as it contains
anti-oxidants and has cholesterol reducing properties (although
optional as there are contraindications for women related to breast
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