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The Amazing Health Benefits Of A Mediterranean Diet

Apr 27, 2008
When one thinks of the Mediterranean our thoughts instantly go to Greek hard bodies worshipping the gleaming sun ocean side or strapping Italian stallions devouring pizza in a quaint ristorante. We picture French goddesses sipping coffee in a bistro bar or exotic Spaniards arching away from fierce bulls. What we don't see is fat. The Mediterranean diet is synonymous with health, vitality and long-life. For centuries, people have examined the eating habits of the sixteen countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea looking for their own personal fountain of youth. The truth is everyone, regardless of where they live, can reap the benefits of a Mediterranean diet.

Many people have heard of the Mediterranean diet, but few could actually explain what it is. The most commonly understood version of this diet is based on the work of a Harvard scientist. His diet is founded on the eating principles in Greece and Italy during the 1960's. This involved lots of plant food, fresh fruit, dairy products, low amounts of meat, olive oil as the only source of fat and moderate amounts of wine. Additionally, regular exercise was also incorporated into the routine since a lot of farm labour was done in the area at that time. Dr. Willett's program was released in the mid 1990's and has gained a tremendous following since that time.

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are nothing short of incredible. Even a 2003 Harvard study (by independent scientists) backed the program citing huge positives. The study found that people who followed the plan experienced a dramatic reduction in death rates compared to those who did not. These findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study followed 22,043 people in Greece. They ranged in age from 20 to 86 years old and were followed for four years. By the end of that time, 275 had died. Those following the traditional Mediterranean diet were less likely to die.

Eating foods traditionally found in a Mediterranean diet have been found to reduce bad cholesterol and therefore heart disease and the risk of heart-attacks. While all of the foods in the program work together, research has shown that olive oil provides the most benefit. This healthy fat has been shown to prevent cancer - especially colon cancer. It also contains huge amounts of antioxidants and Vitamin E. This is especially true for extra virgin olive oil because it is the most pure. New research shows that expectant mothers who consume olive oil are less likely to have children with asthma or allergies.

Following a Mediterranean diet isn't difficult. It's a natural way of life for millions! When you consider the health benefits, there really is no excuse not to jump on the bandwagon. Steam some fish, cook a few veggies in some olive oil and wash it all down with a rich glass of red vino. You might soon find yourself booking a plane ticket for Greece to show off your own hard body in the seaside sun!
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