cuisine uses fish instead of meat, olive oil instead of margarine and plenty of
fruit and vegetables.
Mediterranean food is the
best model for a healthy diet! Epidemiologic research conducted on Crete,
in Lyon and around Toulouse in France showed that the life span of
the local population is much longer than in the continental part of the
The Americans have produced
hybrid oil following the olive oil model and the "Healthy Diet Pyramid" is
nothing else than the Mediterranean model.
Two food styles
The Mediterranean diet model is easy to recognise because of its
semi-vegetarian food with fish instead of meat, olive oil and fruit and
In broader terms, there is
a collision of two food styles: on one side the western style recognised
by its abundance, excessive calories, red meat and high cholesterol, and on the
other the Mediterranean model, easily recognised by its semi-vegetarian
diet, using fish instead of meat, olive oil instead of margarine and other
saturated fats and plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Both styles result in
adequate health outcomes; the outcome of the first style is about 500,000
deaths every year of cardiovascular diseases in the USA, while the second has a
significantly lower death rate and a far more healthier lifestyle. These
conclusions have not been derived on the grounds of sympathy for one or the
other style yet on strong arguments.
What has research shown?
Research under the title "The
Seven Countries Study" showed that mortality caused by diseases related to
the cardiovascular system in the south of Europe are 2-3 times less than in
the continental part, for example in Germany and Ireland, and especially
compared to the USA. Taking a long-term view, this results from replacing red
meat with fish and other seafood, a daily intake of red wine and using olive
Apart from this, the intake
of fruit and vegetables, meaning ballast substance, vitamins and other protective
agents, is significantly higher in the south of Europe.
All studies have clearly showed that people who are systematically fed on
typical Mediterranean food live longer. The connoisseurs of good wine
may say that this results from drinking wine instead of water, but obviously it
is not the only reason. There is a whole array of other, beneficial nutrients
that can only be found on the Mediterranean.
The mild climate of
Mediterranean countries (there are 16 including Croatia) has enabled the growth
of vegetables with large meaty leaves such as borecole and lettuce all year
round as well as citrus fruits (lemon, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines), kiwi,
figs, almonds, grapes, broccoli and cabbage which are all ingredients rich in numerous
Olive oil and red wine
Olive oil deserves a
special treatment as it is the largest natural source of monosaturated fatty
acids, which are so important for creating the proper cholesterol balance.
Research under the name "The Seven Countries Study" showed that mortality
caused by cardiovascular diseases is 2-3 times less in the south of Europe than in the continental part.
This primarily low calorie
food contains very little cholesterol and plenty of ballast substance which are
all attributes of a healthy diet. All year round it provides a high source of C
vitamin in its natural complex with bioflavonoids, a high source of beta
carotene, enough E vitamin and finally a sufficient amount of Omega-3 fatty
acids that cannot be found in the regular continental diet except if you like
And finally, there is also
plenty of red wine diluted with water to quench thirst. Nowadays, it is
considered that polyphenols from red wine are the best interceptors of free
radicals, i.e. they belong to the group of antioxidants in terms of their
effectiveness. Two large glasses of wine a day can have a very beneficial
health effect, which at the same time does not cause any alcohol related
If you add protective agents
from garlic, broccoli and cabbage, one can talk about an above average defence
Why are the French less affected
by heart attacks?
This question contains the
allusion to the famous "French paradox". The term was created due to the fact
that the French, who sit for hours at the table and literally take pleasure in
their food, do not however, suffer from cardiovascular diseases, primarily
heart attacks, in such extent as the Irish and the Americans.
Research on Crete and
around Lyon showed that the local food for
people inclined to suffer from heart attacks is better than any official
medical diet. What does it contain? Very little meat, plenty of cooked vegetables,
an abundance of citrus fruits, lean fish and red wine as desired. Do we need to
add long walks in the fresh ocean air?