Rating the Mediterranean Diet
Health professionals unanimously opine that in comparison to North European and American diets, the Mediterranean diet is healthier. Over the years, the Mediterranean diet has gained popularity as a tasty, heart-healthy alternative to low-fat eating. High-carbohydrate foods including bread, pasta, rice, couscous and polenta; fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes; olive oil; and dairy foods such as cheese and yogurt comprise the traditional Mediterranean diet. Fish, poultry, eggs and sweets are consumed once a week whereas red meat is consumed only once a month. In effect, the consumption of monounsaturated fats instead of saturated ones is encouraged in the Mediterranean diet.
During recent researches, scientists have outlined the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which include improving longevity and reducing the risks of heart disease and cancer. Particularly, incidence of cardiovascular diseases is significantly decreased since the traditional Mediterranean diet delivers not less than 40% of total daily calories from fat.
Once you identify and eliminate your hidden food allergies within this diet, you'll be on one of the healthiest diets in the world.
According to a study, the individuals between 70-90 years of age living in 11 European countries and adopting a Mediterranean-type diet had a more than 50% lower death rate who adopted a Mediterranean-type diet and other healthy lifestyle habits.
Nearly 20% of all deaths in European countries occur due to cancer. However, in the Mediterranean countries the death rates are considerably low. Incidence of breast cancer varies more than fivefold worldwide, which in any case is attributed to dietary habits. Significantly, cases of breast cancer are lower in Mediterranean countries when compared to countries in western or northern Europe or the United States. Apart from heart diseases, Mediterranean diet rich in vegetable oil, nuts and fish also helps in preventing diabetes and gallstones.
In order to keep healthy and to ward off diseases, Mediterranean nutritionists suggest that an individual perform regular physical exercise, drink six glasses of water a day and have a moderate consumption of wine. Those who do not consume alcohol, purple grape juice is recommended to compensate for red wine since it offers the same heart health benefits.
2. Kim Knoops, M.Sc., professor, human nutrition, Wageningen University, The Netherlands; Dario Giugliano, M.D., Ph.D, professor, metabolic diseases, Second University of Naples, Italy; Eric B. Rimm, Sc.D., associate professor, epidemiology and nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; September 22/29, 2004, Journal of the American Medical Association
3. Bill Bergstrom, Associated Press;
4. Consumer Reports on Health, "The Mediterranean Diet: A Better Way to Eat?" Vol 6, No.11, Nov 1994.