THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET

 When speaking of the “Mediterranean Diet” we are describing a certain way of eating, to be more precise the eating habits of the central south of Italy. Since in the coastal areas the habits and foods coincide, over the centuries a gastronomic tradition has developed which, apart from the regional dishes of the area, have a lot in common.

At the basis of a healthy diet are carbohydrates, or bread, pasta, rice, cereals and their derivatives. Mineral salts, fibre and vitamins are consumed in raw or cooked vegetables and fruit. The combination of these foods, form the “base of the pyramid” which graphically represents a balanced diet. Further up the pyramid, in minor quantities, are the foods of animal origin: milk, cheese, eggs, meat, fish, which are necessary for the protein requirement. Small quantities of sugars and fats complete the pyramid.

 But we must be careful when talking of fats! Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest of the fats and is characterised by the presence of monounsaturated fatty acids.

 

WHY OIL IS HEALTHY 

  • rich in antioxidants
  • rich in Vitamin E
  • anti-tumoral properties
  • anti-inflammotiry properties
  • hypotensive action
  • reduces bad cholesterol (LDL)
  • Helps the assimilation of vitamins and carotenoids present in vegetables (which does not occur for example by eating an undressed salad)
  • Sugar Free (Zero Glycemic Index)

 Based on much epidemiological research, olive oil, among all the oils, is the best for the health. Extra virgin olive oil is a vegetable fat, made up of mainly unsaturated fatty acids. The fatty acid in olive oil is oleic acid (monounsaturated). Extra virgin olive oil protects the heart and arteries, slows down cerebral ageing, may help prevent arteriosclerosis and lowers the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and increasing “good” cholesterol (HDL). In addition, according to medical research, it may help prevent the formation of tumours and cell deterioration. Extra virgin olive oil, which due to its acidic composition is similar to maternal milk, has always been advised for the weaning of babies and is useful in old age because it favours the assimilation of calcium and its minerals,reducing de risks of osteoporosis.

 The presence of Vitamin E (tocopherol) means that extra virgin olive oil is thus able to prevent damage to cells from dangerous free radicals, which are a normal product of the organic metabolism, but if produced in excessive quantities and/or not counterbalanced by antioxidants, damage healthy tissue. In addition, free radicals contribute to the ageing process because they destroy collagen and the elasticin fibres that make up the structure of the skin; without their support the skin loses its elasticity and its youthful firmness. Vitamin E neutralises the free radicals as they form and helps to prevent this kind of damage. Thanks to its ability to locate free radicals, it is increasingly included as an active ingredient in skin care products. The value of vitamin E as an integrator is becoming increasingly recognised, not only to delay premature ageing, but also to prevent a large number of tumours, the formation of cataracts, arthritis, heart disease and even in the treatment of male and female sterility.

 

 

 

 

 


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