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Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet has long been considered one of the healthiest diets on the planet - and rightfully so.

For thousands of years, residents along the Mediterranean coast have enjoyed the delicious diet, leisurely dining, and engaging in regular physical activity. They don’t think of their eating habits as a diet plan; it’s simply a way of life that can lead to long, healthy lives with less chance of chronic disease.

A growing body of research continues to prove that eating a healthy diet rich in plant foods and healthy fats is good for you. Studies show that following a Mediterranean diet protects against the development of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, some types of cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and also leads to a longer lifespan.

The health effects of a Mediterranean diet have been studied extensively in the last 10 years, resulting in better science and more clinical evidence.

“There are numerous health benefits, the strongest and most profound evidence is the protection of cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, a researcher, cardiologist, associate professor, and co-director of the cardiovascular epidemiology program at Harvard School of Public Health.

Health benefits are not attributed to diet alone; it is the whole package, which includes the lifestyle of the people who live along the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean Diet Plan

"The Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle where good taste meets good health," says Sara Baer-Sinnott, president of Oldways, the nonprofit food and nutrition group that first introduced the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid in 1993.

There is no single Mediterranean diet. Instead, each region across Europe from Spain to the Middle East , customizes the basic diet to take advantage of food availability and cultural preferences.

Similarities include a reliance on plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, olives, and olive oil along with some cheese, yogurt, fish, poultry, eggs, and wine. These good diets foods form the basis of the plan and provide thousands of micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that work together to protect against chronic disease.

Most of the foods on the plan are fresh, seasonal whole foods - they're not processed. Preparation methods tend to be simple; foods are rarely deep-fried. Diets to lose weight should not have fried food.

Only small amounts of saturated fat, sodium, sweets, and meat are part of the plan.

The Mediterranean lifestyle also includes leisurely dining and regular physical activity, which are an important part of the equation.

Secrets of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil is what most people associate with a Mediterranean-type diet. But it's not just any olive oil; it needs to be extra virgin.  

“It may not be the monounsaturated fat as much as it is the phytochemicals and compounds in the extra virgin olive oil that offers the health benefits,” Mozaffarian says.

Still, it's not just about the olive oil. Its the diets that work.

"There is no good evidence that monounsaturated fats alone are protective for cardiovascular disease," Mozaffarian says. "Instead, it is the lifestyle and all the foods together that are so favorable."

Mediterranean Diet Benefits

The Mediterranean diet has long been associated with a low risk of heart disease. It makes it a best weight loss plan and a good weight loss food plan.

Studies show that a Mediterranean-type diet is advantageous across the board for cardiovascular risk factors, including total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

For instance, the PREDIMED study compared the Mediterranean diet to a low-fat diet, and found the Mediterranean diet has more beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors.

And in March 2011, an analysis of 50 studies linked the Mediterranean diet to lower odds of getting metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of risk factors (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat) that make heart disease, diabetes, and stroke more likely.

Other studies suggest that along with maintaining a healthy body weight one of the best strategies to lower diabetes risk is to eat a Mediterranean-type diet program that's rich in plant foods; low in red meat, meat products, high-fat dairy, and refined grains; and includes a moderate amount of alcohol (mainly red wine).

Besides all the other health benefits, there may also be a weight advantage. Research makes it clear: Being physically active and eating a nutritious diet made up mainly of whole foods that are filling and satisfying can help people lose weight.

 

Source: WebMD

Weight Loss Diet Plan