The term Mediterranean Diet, while widely in use in the 21st century, actually is something of a misnomer. In reality, there is not a diet regimen that is common to all of the countries of the Mediterranean region. With that said, there is some commonality between what people of the different nations of the Mediterranean eat on a regular basis. Equally important, there are food and beverage items that are not often found in the diets of the peoples of the Mediterranean.
Statistically speaking, men and women who do live in the Mediterranean region experience a notably lower incidence of heart disease than do people in many other points around the globe. There is some consensus amongst physicians, medical researchers and nutrition experts that the diet of the Mediterranean region does play a role in reducing the rate and incidence of heart disease.
While the Mediterranean Diet may not be a letter perfect heart healthy regimen, it is a far superior dining plan than most other programs people have adopted in different places around the world. There are four primary reasons why the Mediterranean Diet is the type of diet regimen that promotes heart health.
Low in Saturated Fat
One of the primary reasons that the Mediterranean Diet promotes heart health is found in the fact that it is a diet that is low in saturated fat. The Mediterranean Diet is a diet that includes the consumption of healthy amounts of monounsaturated fat. The human body actually does require the intake of some fat on a daily basis. The most appropriate type of fat to consume is monounsaturated fat.
A significant number of people who are not paying particularly close attention to their eating habits can be found consuming significant amounts of saturated fat each and every day. Saturated fat raises ‘bad’ blood cholesterol levels which is a precursor to heart disease and stroke.
Monounsaturated fat does not raise blood cholesterol levels. When eaten in moderation, monounsaturated fat provide the body with an element it does need for proper functioning and overall good health.
High in Fruits, Vegetables and Whole Grains
Another of the reasons that the Mediterranean Diet promotes heart health is the inclusion of significant amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, red beans and nuts in daily dining routines. Multiple scientific studies that conducted on every continent demonstrated time and again that a diet that includes significant amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables together with whole grains, beans and low-fat nuts is a regimen that reduces the risk and incidence of heart disease.
Low in High Fat Dairy Products
While non-fat and low-fat dairy products can play a role in advancing a healthy diet, fatty dairy products can have an adverse effect on the heart, other organs and certain bodily functions over time. The Mediterranean Diet involves the use of only a limited amount of dairy products — including very few eggs. When it comes to the inclusion of dairy products, for the most part non-fat or very low fat products are utilized. Heavy creams are not common in the Mediterranean Diet.
Due to the fact that the Mediterranean Diet relies on non-fat and low-fat dairy products (in only limited amounts) and few eggs (which are high in cholesterol), people who follow this diet scheme have been found to have a lower incidence of heart disease and related conditions.
Low in Red Meat
Numerous studies that have been conducted over the past thirty years have demonstrated that a diet high in the consumption of red meat can have a harmful impact on the heart. The Mediterranean diet is very low in red meat. In fact, red meat rarely is included within a meal. If red meat is served, the portion provided is notable small.
The Mediterranean Diet favors lean fish and some other types of white meats, but again in small portions. The manner in which red meat is limited in the Mediterranean Diet, combined with other elements of the regime, leads experts in the field of health and nutrition to conclude that the diet plan promotes a healthy heart.
If you are concerned about developing a healthy lifestyle, including proper eating habits, adopting the fundamentals of the Mediterranean Diet would be a positive step in the correct direction. The elements of the Mediterranean diet appear well suited to promoting heart health and an overall hale lifestyle.
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I hope this has been of some help,