One take-home message is that all fats are not created equal. Perhaps we already knew that. But in the largest-ever study of its kind, the investigators have shown that a controlled diet–modelled after the “Mediterranean diet”–can have a big impact on the heart in a relatively short period of time.
Losing weight seems like such a simple thing, but in fact it is hard for many people. With well known diets on the market such as The South Beach Diet and Atkins’ Program, many have jumped on the low carbohydrate bandwagon. But what about athletes that need protein and carbohydrates to sustain energy? These types of diets do not address their needs. While they both advocate adequate protein, the carbohydrate levels are too low for anyone in sports activities or bodybuilding.
Athletes use carbohydrates for energy just before an event or competition. Also they need adequate amounts of protein because it helps to repair damaged muscle. A diet for athletes must meet these requirements. One such diet is The Mediterranean Diet. This diet advocates the use of grains, dairy and fats such as olive oil. Olive oil is good for your heart and also lowers cholesterol; Italians eat olive oil on their bread instead of butter or margarine. People living in the Mediterranean have eaten this way all their lives and are very healthy.
The diet is named after the area where it originated and is associated with good health and a long life. The dietary lifestyle of Italy and Greece has shown consistent low mortality rates for the past 25 years. The basics of the diet include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, poultry, eggs, and fish, nuts and seeds, cheese and yogurt, olive oil and a limited amount of red meat.
The diet focuses on healthy fats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and protein. Complex carbohydrates break down slower in the digestive system and keep energy levels sustained. This makes the diet perfect for runners and triathletes. And although athletes normally limit the consumption of alcohol, one glass of wine a day is allowed.
An example of the daily menu:
Breakfast: Coffee, Oatmeal and whole wheat toast
Lunch: Pasta e Fagioli (pasta with navy beans), salad and piece of fruit
Dinner: Fish with vegetables and fruit for dessert
Some of the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet:
Lowered incidences of heart disease and lowered cholesterol. Studies done in Europe have shown this type of diet to reduce metabolic syndrome which is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes. Also lower obesity rates, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. It is believed that this type of diet also promotes longevity and increases life expectancy.
The Mediterranean Diet is healthy, well balanced and perfect for anyone who wants to lose weight. This diet is approved by doctors and The American Medical Association.
About the Author
Valery Fortie is the Awareness Coordinator of the Mediterraneanbook.com organization. She is also the editor of the blog behind it. She focus her efforts to provide scientifically driven news on healthy Mediterranean Diet eating and drinking to prevent high blood pressure. Mediterraneanbook.com is a non commercial website created to preserve the Italian healthy eating traditions. Founded in 2004 in Italy, Mediterraneanbook.com feels very strongly about having informed consumers on duty in all healthy eating fields.
One of our readers wanted to share a useful website about the Mediterranean diet.
We know that our diet is particularly important to cardiovascular health and the Mediterranean-style diet has many admirable features. In fact, many of my cardiology colleagues now recommend a Mediterranean diet for their patients with heart disease.
Our reader has also offered to guest-author a piece with recommendations on how athletes can adopt this type of diet. I’m looking forward to sharing this information with you.