Researchers have discovered that people in the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea exhibit strikingly low rates of heart disease compared to Europeans and others.

Researchers have discovered that people in the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea exhibit strikingly low rates of heart disease compared to Europeans and others.

Extensive research in the past few years has isolated key dietary habits as a vital factor in lowering rates of chronic heart disease. One of the main explanations is thought to be the large amount of olive oil used in the Mediterranean diet. Unlike the high amount of animal fats typical to the European and American diet, olive oil lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. There is a general consensus among health professionals that the Mediterranean Diet is healthier than the North European and American diet.

Common to the diets of the Mediterranean region are a high consumption of fruit and vegetables, legumes, nuts, spaghetti, bread and other cereals, olive oil and fish; making them low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber. A main factor in the appeal of the Mediterranean Diet is its rich, full flavoured foods. Margarine and other unhealthy hydrogenated oils are considered bland and lacking the flavour olive oil can impart to foods. Red wine is also consumed regularly but in moderate quantities. This style of eating also includes moderate amounts of fish and cheese but very little red meat.

Researchers suggest that the live bacterial cultures of yogurt may also have contributed to the regions good health.  One other item commonly found in Mediterranean dishes is garlic. Garlic may also help prevent blood clots, lower your cholesterol level, and protect you against cancer.

Of course cutting out the booze and fags that seem to be a staple diet of our Med area are also a good idea!

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