5 things you don’t know about the Mediterranean diet

September 22, 2013

Usually in an article we list the things one should know or are known about the subject we are writing. In this article we will list 5 things we may not know about the Mediterranean Diet. Mediterranean diet is a way of living for millions of people around the world and it is the diet of all the nationalities which live in the Mediterranean basin. It is certainly a healthy way of living which has gradually evolved over the years and which is depicted by the Mediterranean diet pyramid.

Well what are the 5 things people you may not know about the Mediterranean Diet? It all depends off course how well you know the Mediterranean diet and whether you are a follower or rather an adopter of Med diet. Below we will list at least 5 things we believe are not known to the majority of the people and yet are true, these are:

1. Pasta is one of the basic ingredients and components of the Mediterranean diet.

It is actually on the high consumption end of the Mediterranean diet pyramid and along with other grain products such as cereal and bread form a healthy meal for either lunch or dinner. Did you know that pasta will not make you fat?! Pasta is a good complex carbohydrates food which pairs well with high fiber vegetables. In addition pasta will make you feel full since it is digested slower than other carbohydrates and this helps reduce your hunger desire. Did you know that pasta has less impact on the environment? Pasta falls in the same category as plant based foods and this category has less impact on the environment than any other categories of food.

2. Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is related to the Environmental Pyramid.

What does this mean? It means that Mediterranean food which is recommended for high consumption such as fruits and vegetables has less impact on the environment than low consumption food on the Med diet pyramid, like red meat, which has high impact on the environment. Environmental impact is measured in measured along 3 axes: Land use, Greenhouse gas emissions and water consumptions. All three components have a serious impact on the environment. So we can safely conclude that Mediterranean diet is an environment-friendly diet. We have inversed the Med diet pyramid so that it would be better understood and directly related to the environmental pyramid.

3. Olive oil is an integrative part of the Mediterranean die which reduces cholesterol in our blood and this is beneficial to our heart.

But this is not all. There are more things you do not know about olive oil and we believe that you should know them. First of all, Olive oil helps not only our heart but our cells and improves our memory.

This has to do with the contents of olive oil. Another thing you may not know is that your olive oil may not be extra-virgin olive oil, since the laws about olive oil in the US are not as strict as in Europe. It is important to use extra-virgin olive oil to get the most benefits from olive oil.

Finally please bear in mind that heat and light may damage olive oil so you need to keep it in cool places and have it in dark bottles. The olive oil industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the US in case you may want to invest in the olive oil industry.



4. Mediterranean Diet promotes longevity

It has been proven that people who live on Mediterranean diet principles and guidelines live longer and healthier than those who follow any other diet. The Mediterranean diet pyramid guides all the new adopters/followers of the diet, as to the frequency the various food types and categories need to be consumed so as to ensure a healthy life. Several studies at various locations in the Mediterranean Sea, such as Sicily, Crete and other Greek islands, have shown that people in these locations live longer than people in similar locations who were not following the Mediterranean diet. We stress once more that the Mediterranean Diet is not a diet to follow but a way of living and a certainly a healthy one. It should be emphasized that longevity is achieved mainly with the high consumption of antioxidants, fiber, fruits and whole grains and off course olive oil.

5. There is no unique Mediterranean Diet

Since the Mediterranean diet is the way of living of the Mediterranean people, the nations who live around the Mediterranean Sea, we cannot expect that there would be a unique diet among all these nations and nationalities!

The cuisines are different, the way the foods are prepared and cooked are different and the degree the ingredients are used is different and varies from country to country. We have several cuisines which have developed from countries in the Mediterranean Sea and in fact some of the top 10 worldwide cuisines, such as the Italian, Spanish and Greek, are cuisines from the Mediterranean basin.

Don’t they have anything in common? They do. Olive oil is a common ingredient to all, grain and its bi-products is common to all cuisines; the use of herbs, fresh vegetables and the consumption of fish are common to all cuisines.

All variations of the Mediterranean diet follow, more or less, the Med diet pyramid which is basically the common denominator of the diet. It is the prototype on which the variations of Mediterranean diet have been built.

It is a fact that the more you learn or read about Mediterranean Diet, the more you things and issues you discover that you do not know or never came across. It has to be acknowledged that since the Mediterranean diet is a way living which has been adopted by civilizations for at least 4000 years now and it has evolved over the years and it is not a manmade diet devised to serve a purpose, it will certainly have surprises and challenges for dieticians and nutritionists.

One such surprise was a recent study which took place in Spain has revealed that two variations of Mediterranean Diet, one heavy on olive oil and the other on nuts, had better results on fighting cardiovascular diseases than a low-fat diet designed by specialists in the area. The study was published by the New England Journal of Medicine in February 2013.

In conclusion, the more you read about the Mediterranean Diet the more you discover and the more you realize that it is by no accident that this diet is considered by many experts and scientists as the healthiest way of living in the world.

Andrea Aurelio
About the author

Andrea Aurelio adopted the Mediterranean diet and the Mediterranean way of living after evaluating a series of diets and realizing that the Mediterranean diet is a proven diet and the best way to adopt a healthy lifestyle. You can connect with him on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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