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The Mediterranean Diet
« on: November 03, 2011, 11:57:50 am »
Can it Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease?

Higher in fat (40%) than the 30% recommended by the American Heart Association, the Mediterranean diet is gaining in popularity as a tasty, heart-healthy alternative to low-fat eating. The diet is from the Greek island of Crete where Cretans and other Greeks live longer than any other populations in the world - and - they are 20% less likely to die of coronary artery disease than Americans. They also have 1/3 less cancer than in the U.S.  Is the Mediterranean way a better way to eat? Let's look at the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid (below) and compare it to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Guide Pyramid.
Note 1: The authors of the Mediterranean pyramid recommend regular physical exercise, drinking 6 glasses of water a day and moderate consumption of wine. Purple grape juice may offer the same heart health benefits of red wine without the concerns of alcohol. 

Note 2: Other oils rich in monounsaturated fats, such as canola or peanut oil, can be substituted for olive oil. People who are watching their weight should limit their oil consumption.

How does the Mediterranean Pyramid differ from USDA Food Guide Pyramid?

Both pyramids recommend eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, but the Greeks ate very little red meat, and, they consumed far more plant foods - averaging nine servings a day of antioxidant-rich vegetables.
The Greeks ate cold water fish  several times a week  - another heart-healthy investment since fish contain omega-3 oils that not only reduce heart disease risk but also boost immune system functioning.
The USDA Food Guide Pyramid groups high protein foods together and does not separate out the red meat from the heart-healthy fish and nuts.
The Greek diet contains little of the two kinds of fats known to raise blood cholesterol levels: saturated fat and trans fat (also called "hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil" in the ingredients section of food labels). The USDA Food Guide Pyramid does not make the distinction between the healthy fats like monounsaturated oils and the unhealthy fats like saturated (found mostly in red meats and tropical oils) and trans fats (found mostly in margarines, snack foods, processed peanut butter and commercial baked goods). Both recommend limiting total fat if watching weight.

What we can learn from the Mediterranean diet about reading food labels?

Understanding the differences in kinds of fats and knowing how to read and interpret food labels can help one become a smarter food shopper. Look for snack chips without hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (check the ingredients section). Try natural peanut butter instead of the pasty, hydrogenated kind. Alter recipes whenever possible to replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats like olive, canola or peanut oil. Use butter very sparingly or use butter flavoring. Don't believe "Fat Free" or "Cholesterol Free" labeling means that a the product is good for you. Many of these items are made with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and they have "empty calories" that can raise blood triglyceride levels.

Is this a good diet for people with known heart disease?

In one study, French researchers assigned 600 heart attack survivors to follow either a Mediterranean diet or a regimen similar to the one recommended by the U.S. Government and American Heart Association. The short-term results were virtually the same: both diets reduced cholesterol levels by comparable amounts, but the long-term results were surprising. Only 8 new heart attacks occurred over the next two years in the Mediterranean group, compared to 33 in the other group. What the researchers don't mention, however, is the gender of participants. Statistically, women are at much greater risk of suffering a second heart attack. Another consideration is that heart disease is multi-factorial. Diet is just one factor. Family history, lifestyle and blood pressure management are other risks. 

سبحان الله والحمد لله ولا اله الا الله والله اكبر ولا حول ولا قوة الا بالله العلي العظيم


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Re: The Mediterranean Diet
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2011, 01:56:09 pm »
To help enlighten those who are attracted to the Mediterranean diet for its tasty recipes alone, you might like to know of these EXTRA beneficial facts and findings.

The Mediterranean diet is NOT a man made diet nor does it comprise of pharmaceuticals or come in the form of a tablet. The researched and traditional Mediterranean diet has been verified for providing mankind with many and varied health benefits.

1. Dementia - The Mediterranean diet has been verified as reducing the risk of Alzheimers and other types of Dementia through research at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimers and the Aging Brain at the Medical Centre at Columbia University.

2. Weight Loss - Weight loss and weight loss management have also been identified as positve outcome by practicing a Mediterranean diet. Studies performed at Navarra University indicate the diet can reduce the body fat of people undertaking the diet.The research was over three years and monitored people at risk of heart disease to the number of 1.055 indiividuals.

3. Osteoporosis - Professor Campbell found in a study that the longer a person continues the use of the Mediterranean diet the less the chance of developing Osteoporosis. It appears that high antioxidant levels are responsible for this based on later studies.

4. Diabetes - A study which ran for four years, resulted in 44% of people consuming the Mediterarnean diet required diabetes medication for blood sugar issues in comparison to 70% of individuals who practised a low-fat diet. The Mediterranean research group ended up with better blood sugar (glycemic) management and were unlikely to require further medication for diabetes to reach healthier blood sugar levels. It was one of the longest studies of its type undertaken. Katherine Esposito, MD (from Second University, Naples) said that intervention lifestyle diets should never be ignored and the results of the study reinforce their importance.

5. Cancer - Athens University Medical Centre professors discovered there was a direct link when it comes to diets and cancer issues. Less incidence of cancer was found in people who consumed a traditional Mediterranean diet.


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