When it comes to eating right, deliciously, and healthy, the consensus around the medical community is this: Try the Mediterranean Diet-Trust The Greeks!
What native Greeks have intuitively known for centuries has now been confirmed with scientific data.
Extensive research has shown that sticking to even the most common Mediterranean Diet practices may result in a reduction in heart disease, reduced risk of some cancers and an increased life expectancy.
The term Mediterranean Diet is a generic term because the diet in Greece remains varied. You’ll catch influences from North Africa and Italy in many Greek dishes, however, the island of Crete has proven to be a bounty of health research.
Residents of Crete have one of the lowest heart disease risks in the world.
On January 3rd of this year (2018), with help from a panel of diet and nutrition experts, U.S. News And World Report revealed their brand new diet rankings. Nine diets were ranked this way:
- Best Diabetes Diets
- Best Weight Loss Diets
- Best Plant-Based Diets
For the 8th year in a row, “Best Diets” has rated 40 different diets on many levels, from their heart healthiness to their likelihood to help you lose weight. Each diet was rated in several categories:
- How easy it is to follow
- Its ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss
- Its nutritional completeness
- Its safety
- Its potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease
The Mediterranean Diet ranks as a Best Diet Overall, tying for the No. 1 spot with the DASH Diet (stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) which we’ll discuss next.
Here’s a rundown on The Mediterranean Diet-Trust the Greeks is the phrase of the day.
➡ On the Mediterranean diet, butter is replaced with the health benefits of olive oil, fast food lunches are replaced by a variety of fresh vegetables, sugar-sweetened snacks and colas are replaced by fresh fruit and nuts.
➡ There is no special pill to buy, no special formula to drink and no 12-step meal plan to buy. This diet works because common sense prevails in eating choices and a rise in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) shows us they’re doing something right.
➡ Traditional Greek cooking uses garden-fresh produce and extra virgin olive oil.
It’s just common sense, really, and it keeps showing us how well it works by the lower incidence of heart disease and colon cancer, along with an increase in life expectancy and a decrease in overall weight.
➡ Part of the reason for this is olive oil. Olive oil is a mono-saturated fatty acid, which means that it does not have the same cholesterol-raising effect of saturated fats. It’s also a good source of antioxidants.
➡ Eating fish a few times a week, a component of the Mediterranean Diet, is beneficial as it increases the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet
Both omega 3 and omega 6 fats are found in the membranes of every one of your cells!
➡ The other part of the Mediterranean Diet is that they eat far less red meat, but more grains, fruits, legumes, vegetables, and olive oil. That alone makes it healthier than any other North American or European diet.
➡ Overall, this diet is rich in healthy fats from fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds, and includes an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables.
➡ This diet is an excellent source of essential fatty acids and antioxidants, a combination which helps improve cholesterol levels and protect heart health.
Not a bad deal, huh? This is a diet that continues to be popular because it still allows for meat, pasta, many flavors and good taste. The best outcome is that it will lead you toward a longer and healthier life.
The Mediterranean diet is a full-sized program that does not cheat you of any food group but simply makes wiser choices in each category of the food pyramid.
This is one proven diet that is here to stay.
P.S. These are just some of the questions that regularly show up in my email:
- Is there a painless way to lower cholesterol and lose weight?
- Can you eat your way there?
You might skeptically say “Sure, sure…” But wait: Consider the merits of the Mediterranean Diet-Trust the Greeks!
Coming Up-Part 2: The Health Benefits Of Olive Oil-The Mediterranean Way
- 10 Heart Health Troublemakers Found In Food
- Unhealthy Fats In Your Diet-5 Easy Ways To Trade Them In