Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
People who leave in countries near the Mediterranean Sea, including Turkey, Israel, Albania, Italy,Greece, and Francetraditionally consume a healthy diet consisting mainly of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and seafood.
Popularly called the Mediterranean Diet, the foodsthat comprise the everyday meals of those wholive in nearby countries are naturally low in calories and in fatwhile high in protein. The diet also contains lesser amounts of saturated fat compared to the typical Western diet.
Traditional Mediterranean cuisine is mainly made up of the following:
Yogurt and Cheese
Rather than using cow’s milk, Mediterranean yogurt and cheese and is made from goat and sheep milk, which contains smaller quantities of saturated fat. In addition, this type of cheese is typically unprocessed, offering richer concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
Fish that live near the Mediterranean give the neighboring countries convenient access to waters rich in a diverse variety of fish, and other sea life including crabs, lobster, squid, and octopus. Traditional fish stew is made up of healthy ingredients such as olive oil, potatoes, onions, garlic, wine, tomatoes, and fish like swordfish, bluefin tuna, and sea bass.
Fruits most commonly grown in the Mediterranean region include cactus pears, figs, grapes, olives,persimmons, pomegranates, pistachios, and loquats. Traditional salads commonly contain olives, olive oil, onions, lemon juice, and slices of assorted fruits served on large grape leaves.
Olive oil is a healthy form of cooking oil containing monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which is believed toreduce the risk of developing heart disease. Olive oil also contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive properties that improve heart health and contribute to reduced risk.
Legumes like almonds, chickpeas, fava beans, and pistachios make up a significant part of the Mediterranean Diet. These can be found in variousMiddle Eastern, Greek, and Turkish recipes and contain antioxidants, iron, potassium, zinc, and three different Vitamin Bs.
Nuts provide the health benefits of magnesium, flavonoids, copper, and zinc. Since legumes have high amounts of fiber, they also aid in weight control, making you feel fuller longer compared to other foods.
Unrefined cereals like barley, oats, rye, and wheat flour helps make the Mediterranean Diet particularlyhelpful to diabetics who need to control their blood sugar levels. The unrefined carbohydrates containfiber and offer the same sense of long-lasting satiation just like legumes which helps dieters fend off hunger pangs.
Vegetables such as artichokes, figs, and eggplants are usually found in Mediterranean dishes like vegetable stew with figs, baba ganouj, and marinated artichoke hearts. Ratatouille, a favorite French vegetable dish, contains eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, onions, and numerous Provencal herbs.
The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in grapes make wine contribute a lot to the healthiness of the Mediterranean diet. Latest research alsoshowed that drinking several glasses of wine weekly may protect you from potential development of cognitive problems related to aging like Alzheimer’s disease.
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