Mediterranean Diet

A Mediterranean diet is a popular diet regimen that has been utilized by a number of people not only as a weight loss plan but also as a diet lifestyle. Unlike other types of diet designed specifically for weight loss, the Mediterranean diet evolved as a traditional lifestyle diet. It is simply a type of diet pattern that is being followed by people living in countries found in the Mediterranean Basin. This group of countries include Greece, Spain and Southern Italy.

The reason why the Mediterranean diet became popular is due to a puzzling paradox typical in the region. Researchers in the past were puzzled as to why countries in the Mediterranean Basin following a diet that is relatively high in fat seem to have far lower rates of cardiovascular disease than in other countries such as the US which also consume similar levels of fat. Studies have shown that the primary reason why the Mediterranean diet has this effect is due to the type of fats that people in these countries consume.

Although the traditional Mediterranean diet is high in fat, it is also known to be low in saturated fat and high in mono unsaturated, or good fat as well as high in dietary fiber. This has provided the answer to the high fat diet-low heart disease incidence paradox more famously referred to as the French Paradox. Common on the typical Mediterranean diet is the high consumption of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish and red wine.

One of the appeals of the Mediterranean diet is that it is not too restrictive. People do not avoid consuming carbs, fats, sugar or meat. Instead the diet focuses on providing people with healthier selections of the different food groups. In the Mediterranean diet, people are urged to eat fresh and healthy food such as fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, olive oil and moderate amounts of wine. And since fresh food is given priority, the Mediterranean diet generally avoids most processed foods.

Portion control is also important for the Mediterranean diet. It focuses on consuming small portions of food that provides satisfaction to the senses instead of trying to just fill up the stomach. The consumption of healthy fats found in olive oil as well as those derived from nuts, and seeds make this high fat diet an easier alternative that people can follow. And because the Mediterranean diet focuses on consuming only the freshest of foods, eating processed and packaged foods that are high in unhealthy trans fats are avoided.

Aside from fats, the Mediterranean diet, with its regular consumption of fish, provides abundant amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to help reduce the incidence of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular disorders as well as have a hand in preventing certain forms of cancers.