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Heart-healthy: All about the Mediterranean Diet

Last updated on: December 26, 2012 10:02 IST

Heart-healthy: All about the Mediterranean Diet

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Courtesy HealthCareMagic.com

Here's all you need to know about this diet, which includes plenty of fresh produce, lots of fish and very little meat.

The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan. In fact, you'll find that most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains and limit unhealthy fats.

The diet is designed to promote a healthier lifestyle, weightloss, and wiser dietary choices. It is designed to last six weeks, but most people are so happy with the results they simply stay on the diet for the rest of their lives.

People who make the Mediterranean Diet a regular part of their life are less likely to have cardiovascular problems, certain types of cancers, and are less likely to develop dementia.

The components of the Mediterranean diet include:

  • Eating a generous amount of fruits and vegetables.
  • Consuming healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil.
  • Eating small portions of nuts.
  • Drinking red wine, in moderation, for some.
  • Consuming very little red meat.
  • Eating fish on a regular basis.

Photographs: Scott Bauer, USDA ARS/Wikimedia Commons

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The benefits of olive oil

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One of the main components of the Mediterranean diet is olive oil. The reason olive oil is used is because it has several beneficial effects on the body.

Researchers believe that there is a link between olive oil and the prevention of colon cancer. Adding just two tablespoons of olive oil to your daily diet significantly lowers your chances of developing heart disease.

One of the first things that people notice when they start the Mediterranean diet is that the olive oil makes it easier to digest foods. What they don't know is that the olive oil also protects their stomachs from gastritis and ulcers.

If you dislike the taste of, or are unable to find any olive oil, you can substitute it with coconut oil.


Image: Olive oil
Photographs: Courtesy Gud2Eat.com

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The nutritional benefits of nuts

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Nuts are another key factor in the Mediterranean diet. Nuts are an excellent source of protein, fibre, selenium, Vitamin E and antioxidants.


Image: Assorted nuts
Photographs: Melchoir/Wikimedia Commons

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Other Mediterranean Diet foods

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In addition to olive oil and nuts, the Mediterranean Diet will have you eating lots of vegetables and fruits. While you are on the Mediterranean diet you should also eat dairy products like cheese and yoghurt daily, and add chicken and fish to your weekly menu.

The Mediterranean Diet works when you drink a moderate amount of red wine too. A man should drink only two glasses of red wine a day, while women should only drink one. Remember that the red wine is optional and that the Mediterranean diet will work even if you choose to abstain.


Image: Add fish to your weekly menu
Photographs: Marlith/Wikimedia Commons

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