Mediterranean Dietary Habits

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To start with, the Mediterranean diet is not a diet per say but more of a way of life of the people of the Mediterranean basin. It is more of a term for the abridgement of the several traditional foods and eating patterns of the 16 countries that border the Mediterranean basin, most notably Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Spain.

These countries appear to share common dominating dietary traits despite certain degrees of differences in their religions, cultures, educational levels, and economic prosperity.

The low incidence of cardiovascular diseases and obesity among the people of the Mediterranean basin despite their known consumption of high-fat diets was what actually aroused interest in their dietary habits. This interest was further heightened
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Regular Use of Olive Oil
The olive oil and wine consumed in the Mediterranean basin retain virtually all their natural nutritional properties because they are usually obtained from their respective plant sources through either physical crushing or pressing.

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids and is the main component and also principal source of fat in the diet of the Mediterranean basin as it is used in preparing almost everything they eat. This use of olive oil in their cooking makes eating more of a feast for the senses through their bold colors, enticing flavors, and unbeatable aroma.

In addition, olive oil is a good food additive which is well-known to lower LDL "bad" cholesterol while increasing the amounts of HDL "good" cholesterol. It is equally considered an excellent source of carotenoids, tocopherols, and phenolic compounds which have powerful antioxidant properties to effectively fight against
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Regular but Moderate Wine Drinking
A moderate intake of wine when eating has been a long-standing tradition in the Mediterranean region. Wine contains polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants that have a relaxing effect on blood vessels and therefore serves to lower blood pressure. Moderate drinking of alcohol has also been established to reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases.

The Mediterranean diet, in its several variations, is effective mostly due to the wide variety of enjoyable foods allowed on the diet combined with a rich tradition of ethnic recipes making use of these foods. The diet does not focus on calorie counting but rather on people eating foods that are healthier. This makes eating healthier and more enjoyable which consequently make it a lot easier for people to remain on the diet for longer periods of time.

Apart from the dietary habits of the people of the Mediterranean, their general lifestyle which tend to make them walk and bike a lot, and also to engage in physical activities for either recreation or working at home, also plays significant roles in their overall healthy

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