This Mediterranean food pyramid is easy and fun to follow
Iggo explains how the Mediterranean Diet works and what is different about this great diet compared with so many others. He includes an examination of the Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid.
The Mediterranean Diet was developed because researchers noticed that people who live in the Mediterranean region live longer and have fewer heart attacks than people in other developed countries, even though they eat more fatty foods. We’re talking people who eat French, Italian and Greek food. We’re talking delicious food that is way more appealing than grilled chicken breasts and dry salads. And wine. They drink wine with their meals. The researchers all decided they wanted some o’ dat, and tried to figure out why the Mediterranean Diet is so good for you.
What’s Different About the Mediterranean Diet?
Well, for one thing, flavor. Mediterranean diet recipes are good. Eating is enjoyable, which is part of what’s right about the Mediterranean diet. In the Mediterranean area, eating is social and enjoyable. People linger over a good meal with good company for hours, laughing and enjoying the food and wine.
The Mediterranean Diet is high in fiber. It is a carbohydrate-rich diet…we’re talking the right carbohydrates. We’re not talking about donuts and birthday cake. We’re talking about whole grain breads, pastas, rice and other complex carbohydrates. Dishes like hummus and couscous and pasta primavera.
The Mediterranean Diet is surprisingly high in fat. Again, though, we’re talking about the right fats. Monosaturated fat like olive oil and foods rich in omega-3 fats like fish. Mediterraneans eat very little saturated or trans fat. No shortening, margarine or lard. Not much red meat, either.
The Mediterranean Diet allows wine, especially red wine. It’s been discovered (by those researchers) that red wine contains flavonoids and other phytonutrients that protect your arteries and blood vessels.
The Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid
The Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid is a bit different than the USDA food pyramid because it contains more carbohydrates and more fat. Here are the Mediterranean Diet recommendations:
- Eat lots of complex carbohydrates—breads, pasta, whole grain foods.
- Eat several servings of fruits and vegetables every day. A serving or two of legumes or nuts every day is okay, too.
- Use olive oil and other monosaturated oils (peanut or canola oil) every day.
- Low fat dairy products, like cheese and yogurt can be eaten every day.
- Eat lots of fish. Most of your “meat” meals should have fish. You can eat fish several times a week.
- Eat smaller amounts of poultry and eggs, but you can still have them several times a week.
- You may have small amounts of sweets a few times a week.
- Eat only very small amounts of red meat, only a few times a month.
- Drink at least six glasses of water a day.
- Drink a little red wine. Most people recommend keeping it to a glass or two a day. You can drink grape juice, if you prefer.
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