Studies have shown that in addition to a lower incidence of obesity, countries like Greece and Italy actually have a lower incidence of chronic disease and a longer life expectancy than our "modern" society.
The real kicker is that these countries consume, on average, a whopping 40% of their calories from fat - about double the amount recommended by most health experts today! What's their Secret? No one knows for sure! But many nutritionists and health practitioners have decided that it's more important to learn from the success of the eating habits of these regions than it is to answer the question of why it works the way it does.
Recent research suggests that olive oil does even more than lower the levels of LDL, the bad boy of cholesterol.
In fact, more and more studies are backing up the belief that olive oil also contains antioxidants that discourage clogging of the arteries and other chronic diseases - even cancer! The diet is centered around healthy fats like olive oil, as well as food items such as nuts and avocados that have high levels of healthy fats.
The Mediterranean Diet also recommends eating healthy grains, including pasta, bread, and legumes.
Participants are encouraged to eat fish several times a week, augmented by lean protein, while red meat is limited.
What the Site Has What it doesn't have is testimonials, sales pitches, and product pitches.
In fact, the site is unusually devoid of anything resembling a sales pitch.
Instead, The Mediterranean Diet site is truly informational, dispensing the basic guidelines of the eating plan and leaving the rest to you! Since the recommendations fall exclusively under the "real" food category, you can hit the ground running with the basic details of this easy-to-follow- plan! The Mediterranean Diet site does have a few subtle references to Mediterranean food companies, but these seem geared more toward restaurants that might want to increase their usage of these types of products than to the average consumer.
The website is packed full of interesting reading.
There's an entire page detailing the health benefits of olive oil.
Did you know that the therapeutic benefits of olive oil were first mentioned by Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine? Or that olive oil was used to maintain skin and muscle suppleness, heal abrasions, and soothe the burning and drying effects of sun and water? It's true! Olive oil is mentioned in thousands of historical texts as an irrefutable health and beauty supplement The site also thoroughly explains the way cholesterol works in the body - both good and bad.
And while it might not seem important, it's compelling to realize that this is an eating plan that dates back centuries, and that before we messed everything up with our out-of-control portions and trans-fatty fast foods, civilizations the world over lived long and healthy lives by following this type of diet.
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