How the Mediterranean Diet Works

The USDA has long been telling us that lowering total fat intake and
abiding the sacred four essential food groups will result in better health and weight loss. Well, there’s something that they haven’t been telling us. There is more than one type of fat; some types of fats can be healthy in moderation, and often higher levels of bad fats and cholesterols are found in the daily groupings.

The Mediterranean diet emerged from the Seven Countries Study conducted by Ancel Keys in the 1960’s. Keys found that Greeks whose diet is mostly founded on plants of the region had the lowest rates of chronic illness such as heart disease and cancer, and the highest life expectancy in the world. What were these Greeks eating you ask? Simple. The arid climate provided large amounts of vegetation for a diet that is largely plant based including, fruits, dark green vegetables, beans, legumes and nuts. Olive and sesame oil are also a staples of the region, as well as decreased intake of animal meats and dairy which would go sour easily in high temperatures. Moderate to high intake of fish is also recommended.

The Mediterranean diet emerged from the Seven Countries Study conducted by Ancel Keys in the 1960’s. Keys found that Greeks whose diet is mostly founded on plants of the region had the lowest rates of chronic illness such as heart disease and cancer, and the highest life expectancy in the world. What were these Greeks eating you ask? Simple. The arid climate provided large amounts of vegetation for a diet that is largely plant based including, fruits, dark green vegetables, beans, legumes and nuts. Olive and sesame oil are also a staples of the region, as well as decreased intake of animal meats and dairy which would go sour easily in high temperatures. Moderate to high intake of fish is also recommended.

So why does this specific combination of foods seem to be so
healthy? First, it’s important to note that the diet is largely due to environment, climate, trade and politics. The Greeks did not choose this diet; it simply attracted attention due to the health benefits. Recent studies show that plant based diets are more than twice as likely to reduce cholesterol levels due to the low amounts of saturated and trans fat in fruits and vegetables. Fruits are also high in slow burning complex carbohydrates which make the body work harder to release energy. Olive Oil is the healthiest of all oils
because it contains the highest amount of monounsaturated fat (77%) and lowest amount of polyunsaturated fat (9%) which raises the amount of HDL, a good lipoprotein known to lower cholesterol.
Legumes, like fava beans, chickpeas and lentils are wonderful sources of protein and fiber with very little saturated fat. Sesame oil and olive oil have large amounts of Vitamin E, a new wonder salve that is known to reduce the symptoms of aging. Sesamin, found in sesame is the only substance known to halt cholesterol absorption into the body.

So why does this specific combination of foods seem to be so
healthy? First, it’s important to note that the diet is largely due to environment, climate, trade and politics. The Greeks did not choose this diet; it simply attracted attention due to the health benefits. Recent studies show that plant based diets are more than twice as likely to reduce cholesterol levels due to the low amounts of saturated and trans fat in fruits and vegetables. Fruits are also high in slow burning complex carbohydrates which make the body work harder to release energy. Olive Oil is the healthiest of all oils
because it contains the highest amount of monounsaturated fat (77%) and lowest amount of polyunsaturated fat (9%) which raises the amount of HDL, a good lipoprotein known to lower cholesterol.
Legumes, like fava beans, chickpeas and lentils are wonderful sources of protein and fiber with very little saturated fat. Sesame oil and olive oil have large amounts of Vitamin E, a new wonder salve that is known to reduce the symptoms of aging. Sesamin, found in sesame is the only substance known to halt cholesterol absorption into the body.

The Mediterranean diet dispels the myth that most vegetarian and vegan diets are unhealthy because of a lack of protein or essential minerals. Quite the contrary, Tahini, a form of sesame paste found in hummus, has large amounts of vitamin E, a plentiful array of amino acids and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, necessary minerals to keep your nervous and muscular
systems running smoothly.

Science is uncovering more and more reasons that the
Mediterranean diet is synonymous with good health. Ancient and modern day Greeks knew good, healthy food. Take a lesson from the land that produced Plato and Aristotle and jump into this healthy new way of life.

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