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The Mediterranean Diet Promotes Heart Health

By Daryl H. Bryant (541 words)
Posted in Living with MS on June 27, 2013

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The Mediterranean Diet Promotes Heart Health

Many MS patients discovered that one of the secrets to controlling symptoms relies on eating healthy. In the last decade, numerous physicians have touted the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for its health benefits and sustainability.

Health care providers and patients alike relay the positive aspects of adopting the eating plan that studies claim improves overall health while reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Mayo Clinic also reveals that while adhering to the healthier nutrition regimen, 1.5 million adults were able to greatly reduce the risk of developing cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disorders.

Origins of the Mediterranean Diet

Physicians claim that the diet essentially means making healthier food choices while incorporating food preparation methods similar to those used by cultures in the countries that lie along the Mediterranean Sea. The diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables supplemented with pasta and rice. Rather than consuming processed foods made with trans fats, it suggests eating fresh foods prepared daily with olive oil. Whole grains replace partial or processed grains.

The many people that regularly consume the Mediterranean method of eating include those located in France, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Turkey along with individuals residing in Eastern and Middle Eastern regions. Their nutrition comes from foods derived from farms, gardens and the sea. Health care providers advise that these are some of the healthiest people on the planet.

For example, Greek citizens consume an average of nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Red meat intake remains limited, while protein comes from chicken and fish. Instead of having hydrogenated oils and saturated fats, olive oil provides the fat source. Fast food restaurants remain virtually nonexistent in many areas. The people in Mediterranean countries also include red or white wine during most dinners.

The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

The popularity and success of the diet led to the development of a Mediterranean Diet pyramid, which provides a bit of guidance. The base of the pyramid consists of foods derived from plants and includes fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts along with whole grains.

Olive oil also lies on this level. Use olive oil when baking, cooking, in salad dressings or drizzled over vegetables. These foods should form the basis and the majority of every meal.

Eat fish at least two times every week. Cheese, eggs, yogurt and poultry comprise the third level of the pyramid. Include moderate portions of these foods ranging from once a day to once a week. Choose low-fat versions of dairy products. The top of the structure includes red meats. Try to limit the intake of red meats and sweets to no more than three times per month.

Substitute herbs and spices for flavoring instead of salt. Limit alcohol consumption to two glasses per day for men and one glass per day for women. Individuals experience additional benefits when exercising at least three times per week.

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