During the 1970’s Italian scientist conducted long and in-depth research in an attempt to establish foods for a healthy diet.
Almost every aspects of nutrition and the suitability of every food that western industrialized countries grow and consume have been scrutinized to determine how beneficial or detrimental each is.
Researchers determined, that during the 20th century the incidence of “diseases of civilization” increased, while that of illnesses caused by infection had declines. Although it laudable to witness the decrease of epidemics and endemic ailments, one must be concerned with the increase of degenerative diseases such as athero sclerosis, rheumatism, and cardiovascular diseases to name just a few. Most European and American researchers have concluded that the diet and life stile of western industrialized countries has a definite correlation of the increased incidence of degenerative diseases.
It has been established, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that excess consumption saturated fats and simple sugars, and low intake of fibre cause all kinds of ailments. Researchers have now established that for centuries, Mediterranean people have eaten and continue to eat a combination of foods, which come closest to the ideal diet. This occurred totally by coincidence rather than by design.
People ate a lot of fish, as it was widely available and relatively inexpensive, consumed vegetables because each season offered fresh, a seasonal variety of them, considerable amounts of fresh, seasonal fruit, yoghurt, and more olive oil than butter. They consumed little granulated sugar, as naturally sweet fruits provided enough of fructose.
The healthy and ideal diet should consist of 10 per cent natural sugar (even les if possible), 40 – 50 per cent carbohydrates, 12 per cent protein, and 20 per cent unsaturated fats and 10 per cent saturated fats.
Adequate amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables are recommended to prolong life, and strengthen the body against degenerative diseases.
The Mediterranean diet id he closes to the ideal diet, consisting of fibre-rich vegetables, cereals, pulses, olive oil, and the consumption of regular modest amounts of wine. Most prefer red wine and it has been established that red wine is better for health than white wine.
Before the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, and even today, in remote Mediterranean regions it is relatively easy to find 100 year and older people, where they subsist on little food, eat regularly natural freshly cooked meals, eat yoghurt, and walk considerably more than modern city dwellers do. They also worry less than modern people.
Now, in Mediterranean metropolises people eat much more meat, preserved, processed, prepared and frozen convenience and canned foods than they did even a few decades ago. In such cities, the incidence of degenerative diseases, constitute a much higher percentage of all diseases than ever before. Life expectancy is also shorter partially because of less walking, exercise, and more anxiety.
In the U S A, the breadbasket of the world, people spend inordinate amounts of money on food, but unfortunately for the wrong type of foods. Most North Americans eat too much saturated fats and insufficient amounts of carbohydrates. A look at the population on the streets of any major American city will confirm this observation.
It has been established that olive oil, rather than butter, is by far better for the human body. While olive oil contains as many calories as butter, gram per gram, it is unsaturated and much healthier than butter.
A reasonable amount of fibre in the diet is known to be an important contributor for well functioning digestive system.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
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