Modified Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has been identified as the secret of greater life expectancy among the people of the Mediterranean region. Mediterranean cuisines are a combination of vegetables, nuts, fruit, legumes and beans cooked in olive oil, with a moderate intake of dairy products and red wine. They consume very small quantities of animal fat, meat and sugar in their diet, on a weekly or monthly basis. This nourishing balanced diet along with an active life style help prevent some of the chronic diseases of the heart, as well as cancer, diabetes and gallstones.
Researchers have identified the traditional Mediterranean as a healthy diet compared diets rich in animal fats and products. Americans and Europeans consume poultry, eggs and red meat cooked in animal fat such as butter or margarine that are a rich source of saturated fat. The intake of such food with little or no fiber, deficient in essential vitamins, minerals and nutrition vital to the human body, runs the risk of these people developing obesity, various types of cancers, heart diseases and a shortened life span.
The Mediterranean diet was thus modified for the wider population. In fact, the modified Mediterranean diet is an anti-aging diet, designed to improve the life expectancy of older people. The diet is not a part of any weight loss program, but a healthy diet combined with an active lifestyle are encouraged. The diet recommends a daily serving of vegetables, fruit, legumes, beans and cereals with low amount of milk, yogurt and cheese. The food should be cooked, garnished or dressed with olive oil(a low saturated fat and anti-oxidant). Poultry and meat should be consumed occasionally. In fact, the Mediterranean diet recommends the intake of oily fish to poultry, as it is a good source of protein and Omega 3 fatty acids that are good for the heart. A healthy diet of modified Mediterranean diet relished by aging people consists of mainly vegetables, fruit and fish.
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Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional cuisines of the countries near the Mediterranean region. Spain is among the countries that have rich and sumptuous diet sharing similar nature and characteristics of the commercialized Mediterranean eating style. Spanish food is also a reflection of good health as it mostly uses vegetables and nuts and seeds as the ingredients for their main course, while using poultry and red meat as minimal as possible.
While it is true that each country in Mediterranean region has its own unique cuisine that also reflects their rich culture and custom, most of their cuisines share identical qualities listed as follow:
Having a penchant for fruits and vegetables -- Spaniards are fond of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. At most time, they have their vegetables half-cooked with olive oil, or half-steamed. They also believed in the importance of enzymes and the truth about them being fond in raw and half-cooked food. Also included in their daily diet are nuts, seeds, potatoes and beans in huge amount.
Olive oil for good fats -- As Spanish people love sautéed dishes, they incorporate olive oil in their food preparation because of its healthful properties and devoid of bad cholesterol. For them, olive can be a healthy source of fat, making them safe from hypertension and heart ailments.
Fish and Omega-3 fatty acids -- Sardines, mackerels, herrings and tuna are among the good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids--amino acids that are crucial in keeping a healthy heart and healthy mind.
Meat and Dairy products -- Spanish people do not totally discard meat, although noticeably, the servings are kept in small amounts and eaten less frequently.
Wine -- Of course, how could wine be absent in a diet when even medical and health specialists believe that a moderate dosage of wine can be good for the heart? People in Mediterranean region do love drinking wine particularly social drinking.
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