There are certain types of food in The Mediterranean Diet of varying proportions that has been shown to reduce the risks of developing heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet is a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, peas and beans and grains. It also contains moderate amounts of chicken and fish. There is little red meat and most fat is unsaturated and comes from olive oil and nuts.
In combination with moderate exercise and not smoking, the Mediterranean Diet offers a scientifically researched, affordable, balanced, and health-promoting lifestyle choice, lifestyle and risk. We all know that the modern Western diet and our sedentary lifestyles all appear to have contributed to a recipe for unhealthy living. Diet, lifestyle factors and obesity are also associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.
The results of an investigation into cardiovascular death rates, was published in 1980. This study found death rates were low in Greece and Southern Italy and relatively high in the USA and Finland.
The lifestyle of the long-lived Mediterranean people were studied and after such factors as smoking, exercise, education and stress had all been taken into account, it was found that diet had played an essential part in keeping these communities healthy.
It was found that both individual food components (such as vegetables, fruits, mono-unsaturated fats) and their combination into a long-term dietary pattern were important for health. This led to the identification and description of an ideal Mediterranean diet that could be tested on Western populations.
Many long-term population studies, involving hundreds of thousands of people, have been carried out to assess the likely health benefits of switching to a Mediterranean diet. The diet is now well known to afford significant health benefits.
The ‘ideal’ Mediterranean Diet has:
- High quantities of a variety of vegetables, a variety of fruit, beans, cereals and cereal products;
- Moderate quantities of fish, white meats, nuts, low fat dairy produce;
- Low quantities of red meat, eggs, sweets and sweet desserts;
- A high ration of mono-unsaturated fat (e.g. olive oil) to saturated animal fat (e.g. fatty red meat)
- Low amounts of added salt.