Mediterranean diet plan is a very beneficial and heart-healthy eating plan based on the elements of Mediterranean-style cooking. This diet plan is great for everybody who is seeking for a heart-healthy and delicious eating plan. This diet is based on fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limited amount of unhealthy fats. The diet includes high olive oil consumption, high consumption of legumes, high consumption of unrefined cereals, high consumption of fruits, high consumption of vegetables, moderate consumption of dairy products, moderate to high consumption of fish, low consumption of meat and meat products, and moderate wine consumption. Mediterranean diet is also based on a certain paradox: even though the people living in Mediterranean countries consume rather high amounts of fat, they have lower rates of cardiovascular disease than peoplein other countries.
A typical Mediterranean diet plan
According to the scientific researches, well balanced nutritional elements in Mediterranean diet drastically reduce one’s risk of heart disease, incidence of cancer and cancer mortality, and a reduced incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. A typical Mediterranean diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices as a base of every meal. Fish and seafood are also consumed often, at least two times a week. Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt are consumed in moderate portions, daily to weekly, while meats and sweets are consumed only occasionally. The butter is replaced with healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil and canola oil. Herbs and spices are consumed instead of salt.
Red wine, which is very rich in antioxidants, is consumed in moderation on a daily basis. Red meat is almost completely banned, and consumed only a few times per month.
Benefits of Mediterranean diet
Health benefits of Mediterranean diet are due to the low levels of saturated fat and high amounts of monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber. The olive oil, included in the Mediterranean diet is probably the healthiest component of this diet plan. In addition to the well-known benefits for cardiovascular health, this diet plan makes people less likely to develop depression. Consumption of the red wine, full of powerful antioxidant flavonoids, helps against the free radicals and prevents oxidative damage to the living cells. Antioxidants may help to prevent many degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegeneration in motor neuron diseases, cancers and cardio vascular disease.
One study discovered that a combination of Mediterranean diet and a healthy lifestyle might contribute to more than a 50% lowering of early death rates.