The Mediterranean Diet is named after the many foods consumed in the Mediterranean region. Those following the diet are encouraged to consume legumes, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables in high quantities. Fish, dairy and wine are allowed in moderate amounts. Eggs and other meats are to be eaten rarely, if at all.
A number of studies have been conducted on the Mediterranean Diet, most of which have shown great health benefits to adopting this lifestyle change. It is one of the few "fad diets" that has been supported by the National Institutes of Health as a heart-healthy diet. The NIH states that the Mediterranean Diet can help those with diabetes to control their disease, can lower triglycerides, can help maintain heart health, and can lower bad cholesterol.
Many of those who suffer with bad cholesterol are told by their physicians that the best way to improve their health is by making diet changes and adopting an exercise regimen. However, it can be difficult to make changes to habits that have formed over the course of a lifetime.The Mediterranean Diet challenges this, as the diet reflects the delicious cuisine of those who live in the Mediterranean region. Followers are encouraged to exercise, but also to eat foods such as fresh goat cheese, hummus and whole grains. Dieters may also drink wine with each evening meal if they wish. This wine allowance not only mirrors the Mediterranean lifestyle, it also helps dieters to feel as though they are not denying themselves the foods and drinks they love.
Studies conducted on the Mediterranean Diet have shown that bad cholesterol is lowered while good cholesterol is raised. This is likely due to the intake of heart healthy fats that appear in nuts, avocados and olive oil. Also important is that the diet limits foods in saturated fats like red meats and most dairy. Furthermore, the consumption of beans can greatly reduce high cholesterol. Because legumes are high in insoluble fat, they help to flush the system. This flushing not only helps to lower bad cholesterol, but also helps to keep cholesterol from forming.
A strict adherence to the Mediterranean Diet can lower cholesterol in as little as 28 days when dieters follow all of the food guidelines and begin an exercise regimen. Most studies have shown that while cholesterol begins to drop in one month, it can take up to three months to see major improvements. After nine months, many of those who follow the Mediterranean Diet will have well-balanced cholesterol as well as a smaller waist line.
The Mediterranean Diet is touted by laymen and professionals as a diet that not only aids in weight loss, but helps the body to be healthy and strong. Following the Mediterranean Diet is easy, healthy, and delicious.
This post is a guest article by E. F. He is a nutrition expert and blogger. He blogs about the mediterranean diet meal plan shopping list. If you want him to discuss his finds on foods high in cholesterol to avoid with you, follow him on Twitter.