The benefits of a Mediterranean diet...

The Mediterranean diet is said to be the healthiest diet in the world, not because it’s a diet to help aid weight loss, but because it is said to decrease the chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. With all the right ingredients, it provides all the correct and needed vitamins that our body’s need. But what are the benefits of this diet? What are those key ingredients?

There are 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea that all have slightly different cultures, religions and economies, so there isn’t just one set out diet, but has many variations. The diet is high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, fish and lean meat. Their diets doesn’t contain a high amount of red meat and the consumption of processed foods like McDonalds is considerably lower than from the Western part of the world.  Instead most of the dishes they prepare is by hand and by recipes passed down in generations.
Veg and fruits are usually eaten in their raw state which contains more of the raw vitamins
Their diet also contains unsaturated fats from olives and nuts; however it’s found that Mediterranean’s consume more oils then the recommended amount, but the fats are more easily broken down by the body.
Red wine is consumed in the diet with moderation; red wine is said to contain Resveratrol which can reduce the amount of levels of low density lipoproteins (‘bad’ cholesterol) which in turn reduces the amount of blood clots and improves the health of the heart.

The diet contains fresh ingredients (All the veg and salads) that haven’t been cooked for lengthy amounts of time so they still maintain vitamins in the food that can easily be absorbed by the body. There are various amounts of healthy fats that contain high amounts of omega 3-6-9 fatty acids that are used in the dishes. It contains high concentrations of antioxidants and that decreases the amount of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your blood. There is also a lower amount of sodium intake because there is a lower amount of processed food consumed.

With the amounts of fats in the diet it is important to make sure that you keep active at the same time to make sure the fats aren’t stored in your body and is burned correctly. The high amounts of oils/fats eaten can begin to block up the arteries has the levels of fats increase in the blood, resulting in you developing the chances of getting cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
With the Mediterranean diet, shown by the pros and cons of the diet, you have to do everything in moderation. So while on the diet, healthy and active lifestyle is recommended so the diet won’t back fire on you and actually make you gain weight and become unhealthy!

[1] Original Author: Dr Gordon Brooks, Current Version: Dr Hayley Willacy (2013) [Online]

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