The Mediterranean diet – the most recent significant diet observation globally. Ever wondered what it’s all about? As its name suggests, it’s the very food consumed by the inhabitants of countries along the coast of the Mediterranean. Over all, there are aprroximately 3 continents and 16 countries along this belt. The food habits and diet patterns vary across each of these different countries and sometimes even vary across different regions within each country.
What is all the bubbling hype?
What’s so special about the diet patterns of these folks that it is gaining so much attention? Recent studies show that the occurrence of cardiovascular disease and related disorders is lesser in this part of the world. While it could be due to differences in lifestyle, the important role played by the food and cooking preparation cannot be ignored.
Let’s Trace the origins
Origins of the Mediterranean diet date back to the Greek Island of Crete (just to start with) where it was seen that the Cretans and the Greek lived longer than people from other parts of the world. Also, those who died of coronary heart diseases and cancers were fewer.
Mediterranean food is extremely rich in carbohydrates. The consumption of fruits, grains and vegetables are high. Potatoes, beans, nuts, seeds and cereals are widely used. Milk and milk products, egg are consumed in moderate quantities. So is wine. Very little red meat gets eaten. Instead, more fish is eaten which is good because it contains Omega-3 oils which are said to enhance the immune function.
A point to note
What is unique about the Mediterranean diet is the generous use of “olive oil”. Olive oil, as researched by Hippocrates the father of medicine, is said to have a lot of medicinal properties. It is said to add suppleness to the muscle and skin, and soothe the effects of harsh sun or water. The content of antioxidants is high in olive oil. These antioxidants are known to prevent arteries from becoming clogged and also discourage other chronic illnesses including cancer, bladder stones, urinary tract infection, ulcers, obesity and so on. This oil is special because it contains monounsaturated fatty acids which decrease cholesterol formation. Which helps to partly explain the low incidence of cardiovascular diseases in this part of the world. Apart from olive oil, canola or peanut oil are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. It is imperative however to realize that it is not just the olive oil that makes the diet so affective. It is said that it is a combination of all these things that work together.