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What's so great about a Mediterranean diet ?

Posted by vicki l.

There's been a lot of talk about the Mediterranean diet in recent years. Although there are several countries bordering the Mediterranean basin, each with its own dishes, they do share a few things in common. A big one is a lower incidence of heart diseasse and higher life-expectancy rates, and that's why the area has been researched extensively. So what's the deal? The diet is high in Omega 3, and, according to the Mayo Clinic, includes generous amount of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil, a variety of nuts, and little red meat but a lot of fish. Oh yeah, and red wine, and any diet that advocates wine is a good diet in my book! Here's a site I found particularly useful -- Hope you do, too
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Good information, thank you Vicki.  We've been using extra virgin olive oil in our home for years, so it's nice to hear how healthy it is for us.  A nice glass of red wine is also a main staple in our diet...

 Thank you for sharing this article...we'd like to expand on our use of Meditranian foods, so perhaps this will give us some ideas.




  what happend if using only extra virgin olive oil instead of food? Is this a good diet for wight loss?


Do you mean eating only olive oil but not solid food?

I think that might make you sick to your stomach and as a result, you'd lose weight.  :) Probably not the best way of losing weight though.

The mediterranean diet is a great example of eating a variety of healthy foods!  Olive oil is the oil of choice however on 2-4 TBSP per day!  On your salad or I like to drizzle it blended with fresh garlic on my veggies or bread too!  Mmmm!

Olive oil really isn't good for you.  Its 100% fat and has no nutritional value.


A diet low in fat is what one should aim for.  Oil does not help with this.

I have had chronic fatigue syndrome for many years, and was bedridden for the first year.  It was suggested that i take a teaspoon of olive oil 3 times a day.  I did it and within a week, i was able to get out of bed with some assistance.  I had never used olive oil before.  A few years ago, my oldest son planted me a garden and i ate fresh veggies for meals and snacks and lost 70 pounds, and use only olive oil, plus garlic, lemon, mint and no salt and dont miss it.  After my son died, i quit eating healthy and gained back half the weight. Now i am trying to start again.  making tebouleh and hummus and roasting garlic and pita for chips.  Is there a book that could help me with simple mediterranean food recipes.
Forgot to mention also that i have many other health problems that improve when i am eating this way.  Docs wanted to replace my rotater cuffs in shoulders and a tear in my right knee, but i used more olive oil, fish oil capsuls, and glucosamine chondroitin and didnt have to have surgery.  No pain pills, and yet the pain is gone!  It has been over a year now.

Linda, it will probably not help your health to substitute foods for olive oil.  But if you can keep the olive oil raw unheated, then you get the benefits of it, plus the healthy fat will replace the less healthy fat in your body and will lower you colesterol.

Love. Manel H (aka Superfoods boy)

Olive oil is deliciously nutritious. The BIG mistake people makes is they Heat the oil! Bad bad bad... Any oil (except the medium chain fatty's, like Coconut oil) will go rancid once you heat over 114 F, and not only that but the Heat will "cook off" ALL of the beneficial nutrients and leave on your pan & food only Cholesterol.

Being spanish and food lover, I could not stop having my raw virgin olive oil. I vary on the brands and usually find some catalan or italian olive oil at WholeFoods. High quality.

Now for all those who eat meat and fish, here is the Rocking news! Coconut oil is not sensitive to heat and it will not become rancid. Follow this easy healthy steps for a CHOLESTEROL FREE diet (including meat&fish): 1. heat the pan by itself until you feel the heat from about a 5 inches (sense it with your hand) 2. poor one tablespoon or two of coconut oil (find organic centrifuged coconut oil for Highest quality) 3. put the meat or fish on the pan with the coco oil, cook as desired 4. finally remove from the heat and ADD VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.

This will give your meals a supreme flavor because let me tell you something, cooked/heated/rancid olive oil tastes like crab. When Raw/uncooked is deliciously nutritious. Remember that the fat in olive oil constitues the healthy cholesterol  that we ALL have in our bodies.

Cheers to your health.

Manel H 

 Analyzing the data of over 23,000 men and women followed for 8.5 years by European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, researchers found that mortality dropped with tighter adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

They monitored the relative intakes of alcohol intake, meat and meat products, vegetable, high fruit and nut, monounsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio, legumes, cereal and dairy consumption.  In my book, that's 8 components, and a statistical 12.5% chance for individual contribution of each element. 

Here is how the micro-analysis of individual contribution to the total effect stacked up:

- Moderate alcohol intake: 23.5%

- Low intake of meat and meat products: 16.6%

- High vegetable intake: 16.2%

- High fruit and nut consumption: 11.2%

- High monounsaturated-to-saturated fat intake: 10.6%

- High intake of legumes: 9.7%

- High cereal intake: 6.1%

- Low dairy consumption: 4.5%

 INTERSTINGLY, OLIVE OIL did not seem to confer any particular benefit.  However, I do advise to use olive oil RAW ( not fried) and in moderation since it is calorie-rich.  And don't base the Mediterranean diet on olive oil alone.  It is a complete nutrition plan...

Really, these results can be cooked up at any sauce.  So, to your saucepans!

- If you eat less meat, you're going to eat more vegetables: add these ingredients to each other, and they now contribute to 32.8% of the benefits.

- Don't like veggies? Fine, eat less meat and replace it with legumes, and you still get a combined effect of 26.3%

- Don't like legumes nor veggies, but would rather eat fruit?  That's a combined effect of 27%.

The great advantage of the Mediterranean diet is that is is flexible, allowing for variations in food supply, seasons, taste and religious food restrictions.  It's a healthy thing. 

Manel, I'd stay away from coconut oil.  It contains mostly saturated fat and is one of the least healthy oils you can use.  See nutrition panel:

Amounts Per 1 cup  
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Total Omega-6 fatty acids


I like the banter back and forth about oil /fat or no fat.  Alot of hype is what we've been brainwashed with!  Remember our body REQUIRES 2-4 tablespoons of a fat per day to stay healthy!.  It helps transport the nutirents we eat to the organs and tissues among other healthful things it does FOR US!!  Problem s we've lost touch with what a healthy fat is!  It is NOT fat from animal products, dairy or cheesburgers and french fries!   It is as usual, dark green cold pressed olive oil or grapeseed oil or fish source full of omega 3's!  Think again about your NO FAT diet.  It is not healthy. Just choose a premium ingredient when considering your RDA allowance.  That is what I do!  That is just one component of the healthful attributes of the Mediterranian Diet!

The Mediterranean diet plan is in truth a series of diet programs to some extent advocated by the American Heart Association. However the AHA disapproves of the amount of fat permitted by the Mediterranean regimen. The AHA points out the growing obesity situation in the Mediterranean region. On the other hand, the American Heart Association does like the fact that the largest part of the fat in the Mediterranean diet plan comes from olive oil, a monounsaturated fat that doesn't elevate cholesterol. Researchers aren't certain whether better wellness in the Mediterranean basin is because of eating habits or the fact they get a lot of exercise, frequently from walking.


Weight Loss Program 

Good point, Mark.  Recent data analysis from EPIC, the largest European study of the Mediterranean diet, raised the question of lifestyle.  As of now (but this is likely to change) people around the Mediterranean still take time for breakfast, sit down for lunch, and take time for a home-cooked meal for dinner.  Take out foods, fast foods and finger foods are not in the habits.  Eating in the car or on the run is not in the habit either.  Coffee is a small black coffee, not a 12-oz caramel-mocha-latte with whipped cream.  It is a plant-based diet (veggies, fruit, grains) and limited in saturated fat.  But we should perhaps re-name the "diet" and call it "Mediterranean Lifestyle."  Because staying healthy is NOT about DIET; it is about LIFESTYLE (of which diet is but a small component).  Eat, and be well!
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