The Mediterranean diet is also called the Cretan diet and is one of the best diets that people can follow for leading a healthy and long life.
You will learn why the Cretan diet can prolong life, increase quality of life and diminish chances of cancer and heart disease.
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First of all there is a difference between the term Mediterranean diet and Cretan diet. A Mediterranean diet can be from the South and Southeast of Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Corsica, Croatia , Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus) and the North of Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Syria).
The Mediterranean diet is loosely defined as the diet of the people in the Mediterranean countries where they cultivated olive oil a few hundred years ago.
The term Mediterranean diet has become generalized and this has lead to the creation of many different versions of the diet to suit our modern lifestyle and the availability of many processed foods. In this article I will talk about the real Mediterranean and Cretan diet. The Cretan diet is the one that makes people live much longer without disease… let’s discover why!
The Cretan and Mediterranean diets have become known worldwide because a study showed that people on this diet outlived all other groups from all over the world. It was surprising that the people of Crete had the lowest incidence of cancer and heart disease and that the island was linked to good health and longevity. This test took more than 30 years when all the test subjects from all over the world were dead, 50% of the subjects from Crete were still alive! Crazy isn’t it?
The Cretan diet consists of foods that are produced in the island of Crete. When this research was done all the agriculture in Crete was organic and so were the foods. Food processing was kept to a minimum and there were no unhealthy processed foods with a refined sugar or fats. This paragraph sums it all up. The Cretan diet is based on natural and organic foods, encourages minimal food processing, no junk food, no refined grains or sugars.
If you apply these principles to any diet, you will become healthier and live longer. These factors are the foundation to living disease free and with the best health possible. So lets talk more about the principles of the Mediterranean diet and why it is healthy for most people.
When you eat fresh and organic food you will not be putting the toxins from pesticides and preservatives in your body. Eating the food of the season that is locally grown and avoiding processed foods will make you eat healthier than 95% of the population.
Your immune system will be stronger and you will feel more energetic and in a better mood.
Get a six pack – normal portions
Eat healthy and organic food and you will be satisfied with less food. One of the reasons that people eat so much is because they eat foods full of sugar, fat, emptycarbs and salt. When you ingest these foods they fill you up but an hour later you are hungry for more. Why? Because your body did not get the nutrients that it was expecting.
Nowadays there are many foods that are so processed that people are malnourished even after eating big servings. The body needs real food with real micro nutrients, minerals and trace minerals. With empty foods you can’t stay healthy!
Get a six pack with healthy fats
The Mediterranean diet doesn’t make you quit using fats. Fats are essential for good healthy because they help you metabolize nutrients that are essential for your body. There is a lot of fatty food available nowadays… but you need to be eating the right types of fats.
Mono-saturated and poly-saturated Omega 3 fats are essential for a healthy diet. The fats you should avoid are trans fats and other hydrogenated fats. These increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.
The trademark of the Mediterranean diet is olive oil. It is used on almost everything and its the main fat in this diet. If you replace all butter, margarine and other fats with olive oil, you will feel much better.
Olive oil is a healthy fat and will give you some benefits. By replacing other bad fats with olive oil you will ingest less unhealthy fats.
Omega 3 Fats
When you eat a lot of fatty fish like sardines, salmon, trout and tuna and get fat from plant sources you ingest natural omega 3 fatty acids.
These nutrients have many positive effects on your body and they also improve your concentration and mental well being.
Eating whole foods is always healthier than refined flours. Many nutrients are in the grains peel and all this is taken away in the refined flours. Nowadays the grains are refined to such a small powder that absorption of the nutrients is different causing constipation and other bowel problems.
Refined grains are stripped of nutrients and transformed into empty calories that make you gain fat. Remember that each time you eat pizza, bread and pasta you are eating refined grains.
The Mediterranean diet recommends you drink a glass or two of red wine a day. Note that this is red wine and not white wine. Red wine has some anti oxidants that help against heart disease.
Anti oxidants like transresveratrol and oligomeric proanthocyanidin help dilute the blood and aid blood circulation. This prevents the formation of blood clots and subsequent strokes.
White wine doesn’t have these positive effects and is to be avoided. I don’t endorse alcohol consumption and think it is bad for the body. Drinking some red wine will do you more good than harm especially if you are following the whole Mediterranean diet.
Mediterranean Diet Tips
- Olive oil is the main fat and you should replace all other fats, oils, butter and margarine with it.
- Eat vegetables, grains, nuts, beans and seeds.
- Eat fresh organic fruit as a desert. Don’t eat processed foods because they contain a lot of sugar and saturated fat.
- Eat minimally processed food and don’t overcook your food. Cooking food can destroy its nutrients so don’t overcook until the meat is charred “to kill the germs”. No need for that. The more processed the food is the more sugar, saturated fat, salt, preservatives, color and flavor agents it contains. When eating organic food you don’t have to worry about this.
- Eat moderate amounts of organic cheese and organic yogurt. You can learn how to make yogurt easily if you want to!
- Drink water. Don’t drink sodas, sugared juices or energy drinks. Drink water. Check out he article on Are you Dehydrated to know how much water you should drink.
- Drink a glass or two of red wine per day with meals. This is optional and not mandatory.
- Eat fish 3 times a week, poultry 2 times a week and red meat 2 times a month. You can eat up to 7 eggs a week. Remember that everything should be organic and serving sizes vary on muscular development and gender. Men eat more than women.
- Eat organic food. Most specialists seem to forget that the people on the Mediterranean diet have a disease free live because they don’t eat processed food. When you eat industrialized food grown with pesticides, herbicides, anabolic steroids and antibiotics and stored in plastic or cans with preservatives, color agents, synthetic aromas and flavor agents… You think that junk gets into you after you eat the animal or the vegetable? Well… maybe (that’s me being sarcastic). Of course those toxins get into your body.
- Physical activity. Walk, go run or work in your garden.
The people that followed the Mediterranean diet lived so long because they were eating healthy and most of them had enough exercise by walking and working in their vegetable gardens.
Living a stress free life, eating organic food while exercising moderately are the 3 components for a healthy life. To know more about a healthy diet and exercise you can read the articles on how to get a six pack, how to lose belly fat and how to lose weight!