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Mediterranean diet: a treasure in our dish

Mediterranean diet: a treasure in our dish

The Mediterranean diet refers to the diet of peoples living in olive-growing areas around the Mediterranean. It is a healthy way of eating  inspired by the eating habits of the inhabitants of Greece (mainly the inhabitants of Crete), Italy, Spain and the countries on the Middle East coast, areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

The Mediterranean diet, based on the dietary habits of the inhabitants of Crete and southern Italy in the 1960s, essentially focuses on the consumption of pulses, olive oil, cereals and seeds, fruits and vegetables, moderate consumption in fish and white meat and rare consumption of red meat, as well as moderate consumption of red wine.

The health benefits

People living in the Mediterranean have longer life expectancy and fewer cardiovascular episodes in relation to the inhabitants of the western societies. Scientists have concluded that it may be the result of the beneficial ingredients of olive oil which is rich in monounsaturated fats and of rich fiber in fruits and vegetables.  The use of olive oil, with its antioxidants it contains, has been associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease and anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive action, a reduction in bad LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular risk.

Also, moderate alcohol consumption, which is rich in flavonoids and has antioxidant activity, contributes to the reduction of cardiovascular risk. A 10-year study published in the validated medical Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA  described that patients who followed the Mediterranean diet and a healthy lifestyle with exercise had a 50% reduction in cardiovascular deaths. (Mediterranean diety, lifestyle factors and 10-year mortality in elderly European men and women: the HALE project.) Knoops KT, de Groot LC, Kromhout D, Perrin AE, Moreiras-Varela O, Menotti A, van Staveren WA. Sep 22; 292 (12): 1433-9).

The Mediterranean diet protects against the development of diabetes, but also by the emergence of new cases with a 83% reduction in risk. Also, this diet has been associated with a weight loss of 3.8 kg more than in the low-fat diet.

People who follow the Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of heart attacks.