The Mediterranean diet is a diet based on eating the foods people who live in the Mediterranean basin eat. The Mediterranean basin is an area that surrounds the Mediterranean Sea and has mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. This area includes areas of France, the Iberian Peninsula, the Italian peninsula, and the Balkan Peninsula. It also includes areas of the Sahara desert, and Africa.
The most known form of the Mediterranean diet was created in the mid-1990s by a Harvard health professor named Walter Willett. The diet calls for regular physical activity, along with abundant plant food, fresh fruit as a dessert, olive oil, dairy products, fish and poultry, up to four eggs each week, red meat in small amounts, and wine. The fat in this diet is controlled, only up to 35% of calories, saturated fat at less than 8% of total calories. It’s considered a low-fat high dietary fiber diet. It has been around since 1945 when the version of the Mediterranean diet was first published Ancel Keyes who lived in Italy. But it did not become popular until the 1990s.
One of the main features of the Mediterranean diet is its use of olive oil instead of the animal fats used typically in American diets. Olive oil is known to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, as well as blood sugar and blood pressure. Studies show that olive oil helps prevent ulcers and is an effective treatment for certain types of ulcers, as well as important for preventing cancer. Red wine also adds to the mix in that it contains elements with antioxidant properties.
The Mediterranean diet is really a series of diets partially recommended by the American Heart Association. The one part of the Mediterranean diet that the American Heart Association doesn’t like is a high percentage of calories from fat. The heart association points to the growing problem of obesity in countries around the Mediterranean basin, which is a serious health concern. However, the American Heart Association doesn’t like the fact that most of the fat in the Mediterranean diet comes from olive oil, mono saturated fat, that doesn’t raise cholesterol. That’s a good thing for heart health, but healthier hearts in the Mediterranean areas may be more due to increased physical activity rather than strictly to diet.
A lot of information on various forms of the Mediterranean diet can be found on the Internet. Start with a search on Google.
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