The Mediterranean Diet: What The Greeks Know About Healthy Cuisine
Is there a painless way to lower cholesterol and lose weight? Can you eat your way there? Oh sure, you might say; but wait, consider the merits of the Mediterranean Diet. Virgin olive oil may be the perfect replacement for butter and margarine.
“If you have health, you probably will be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want.” — Elbert Hubbard.
There are so many approaches to optimum wellness. Infomercials tell us about a variety of diet plans from pills and native plants to the benefits of liquid diets over conventional weight loss methods. What should you believe?
One of the clarion calls of caution is the old adage, “If it’s too good to be true – it probably is.”
The Mediterranean Diet relies solely on age old wisdom. Present research verification demonstrates that one man’s daily meal is another man’s trip to optimum wellness.
In Greece, certain symptoms of heart disease are among the lowest in the world. It would seem that the largest body of current scientific research indicates that a diet high in fruits and veggies along with routine consumption of whole grains, legumes, fish, low fat dairy products, olive oil and nuts provide long term and protective health benefits.
With the Mediterranean diet you will find that optimal health is even more important than the accompanying weight loss. What native Greek’s have intuitively known for centuries has now been linked to scientific data that shows adherence to common Mediterranean diet practices may result in a reduction in heart disease, increased life expectancy and reduced risk of some cancers. The health benefits of olive oil have long been realized in Greece.
The term “Mediterranean Diet” truly is a generic term because the diet in Greece remains varied. You will find influences from North Africa and Italy in many Greek dishes, however the island of Crete has proven a veritable treasure trove of health research. Residents of Crete have one of the lowest heart disease risks in the world.
Interestingly, western culture is looking into the health benefits found in countries like Greece, but many of the younger population in Greece are seeking out western cuisine. The trend has proven somewhat antithetical to the wellness experienced by older Greeks. While parents are consuming melons, stuffed tomatoes, salads and yogurt, the younger Greek generation are consuming cookies, hamburgers, French fries, pizza and pop. The result is an increase in obesity among Greek’s youth culture – researchers expect to see an accompanying rise in heart disease in the years to come.
With the Mediterranean diet, butter is replaced with the health benefits of olive oil, fast food lunches are replaced by a variety of fresh vegetables – snacks of chocolate and colas are replaced by fresh fruit and nuts.
Perhaps the reason you don’t hear as much about the Mediterranean diet as you might other weight loss plans is that there is no special pill to buy, no special formula to drink and no 12-step meal plan to purchase.
The Mediterranean diet works because common sense prevails in eating choices and a rise in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) is an indicator they are doing something right. The health benefits of olive oil cannot be overstated and traditional Greek cooking utilizes garden fresh produce and extra virgin olive oil. In tandem, this common sense approach continues to see a lower incidence of heart disease and colon cancer along with an increase in life expectancy and a decrease in overall weight.