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May Is Mediterranean Diet Month!

| Filed under: DietsHealthLisa DeFazio

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I was essentially raised on the Mediterranean Diet. My mom is Armenian and my Dad is Italian. During my childhood, my Armenian grandmother used to make many delicious, healthy, middle eastern dishes, and my Italian grandmother used to prepare these to-die-for, tasty Sicilian and Neapolitan meals.

Since May is National Mediterranean Diet Month, I wanted to talk a little about what this diet is, its benefits and how it works.

For thousands of years the Mediterranean diet has been been considered the healthiest diet to maintain our wellbeing and prevent many chronic and life threatening disease. Research validates that eating a diet rich in plant foods and healthy fats is beneficial. Many studies have also proven that religiously adhering to the Mediterranean diet protects us against obesity, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, development of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and also leads to longevity.

The health benefits are not due to this diet alone, but a way of life too. In addition to a wide variety of nutrient rich, low fat foods and casual dining, family involvement and physical activity make the Mediterranean diet even more effective according to many experts.

The Mediterranean Diet

There is no one Mediterranean diet, but each European region extending from Spain to the Middle East modifies the basics of the this healthy diet, casual dining and physically active lifestyle in order to take advantage of available foods and the local culture's customs.

However similarities are a dependence on plant foods—–such as beans, fruits, nuts, olives, vegetables, whole grains and olive oil. In addition, cheese, eggs, fish, yogurt, poultry and wine are on this diet as well. Most of the items on this diet are fresh, seasonal, are not processed and rarely fried.

Very small amounts of sodium, sweets, meats (pork and red meats) and saturated fats are eaten. These foods are the foundation of the Mediterranean Diet, along with an active lifestyle, provide countless nutritional benefits which protect us from chronic diseases and mental disorders.

Why This Diet Includes Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Everyone talks about the Mediterranean-type diet being rich in olive oil–and I am not talking about just any olive oil. The healthiest form is Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Experts say it may not be the monounsaturated fat, but rather the phytochemicals and compounds in the extra virgin olive oil that offer its health benefits.

However there is no evidence that monounsaturated fats alone protect us from cardiovascular disease. It is the combination of all the foods together with the "lifestyle" that help give us good health and longevity.

Lisa DeFazio’s a leading nutrition expert and a Master’s degree level Registered Dietitian, so be sure to check out her website and follow her on Twitter for more tips and videos — and if U wanna know more about Mediterranean Diets OR anything else, U can always email us at Questions@FitPerez.com!!

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