- It sounds almost too good to be true: A diet that has been shown to increase longevity and help to stabilize blood sugars, reduce “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk of several diseases—and that has enough variety and enough delicious...
It sounds almost too good to be true: A diet that has been shown to increase longevity and help to stabilize blood sugars, reduce “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk of several diseases—and that has enough variety and enough delicious foods that you’re actually happy to follow it.
In fact, the Mayo Clinic states that “an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.”
There’s no “official” Mediterranean Diet—the term refers to the traditional foods and dishes from the countries along the Mediterranean Sea, circling from Spain and southern Europe all the way across North Africa to Morocco. The cuisines of these countries focus on vegetables and fruits, whole grains and legumes (like chickpeas or lentils), and fish:
Think fragrant vegetable and lamb stews from Morocco or Turkey, creamy hummus and flatbreads from Israel, Lebanese tabbouleh, Greek-style chicken roasted with rosemary and lemon stuffed in the cavity, pasta primavera or marinara, and paella laden with a variety of fish and shellfish.
Foods are seasoned with aromatic spices, fresh herbs, and garlic rather than only with salt. Portions are often small, but many dishes may be served with the idea that they will be shared—think Spanish tapas, Italian antipasti, or the mezze platters of Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East.
What Foods Are Forbidden?
Although no foods are off-limits, certain foods appear less frequently or look different from their American counterparts. Countries along the Mediterranean are often mountainous or arid, so the terrain and climate aren’t suited to grazing cattle. As a result, beef and dairy foods from cow’s milk are rare. Rather than butter, for example, the primary fat is olive oil; yogurt and cheeses are traditionally made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. Authentic Italian-style pizzas have thin crusts, with a light dusting of cheese and minimal meat, rather than stuffed crusts, extra cheese, and several types of meat.
A few tips to making the most of the Mediterranean diet:
1 Watch portion sizes. If you love pasta, measure out a serving based on the Nutrition Facts label on the box. (In general, a one-pound box of dry pasta provides eight servings. If you cook for four people and your family usually eats one box at a meal, remember to double the information on the label.)
2 Limit high-fat foods. Opt for clear sauces (based on broth or wine) or veggie-based ones like tomato sauce, rather than creamy Alfredo or carbonara. Nuts and olives are a large part of the Mediterranean diet, but they are high in fat and should be eaten in moderate amounts—about a handful a day is enough to reap their benefits.
3 Think calcium. Because milk isn’t a big part of the Mediterranean diet, be sure to get adequate calcium from low-fat yogurt or leafy greens, or talk to your doctor about supplements.
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- Results recently released by the US National Consumers League(NCL) have shown that six out of 11 olive oils tested failed to meet International Oil Council(IOC) standards of extra virgin quality. In January, the NCL purchased the eleven different varieties of olive oil, all labeled...
Results recently released by the US National Consumers League(NCL) have shown that six out of 11 olive oils tested failed to meet International Oil Council(IOC) standards of extra virgin quality.
In January, the NCL purchased the eleven different varieties of olive oil, all labeled extra virgin, from four major Washington area retailers (Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Safeway, and Giant).
The oils were then tested by Australian Oil Research Laboratories to see if they met the IOC’s extra virgin standards, and the results showed only five of the selected were true extra virgin.
Olive oil is traditionally classified based on based on their chemistry, flavor profile, and presence of defects, with extra virgin, the highest classification possible, not having any defects.
Several other sources have done research on mislabeled extra virgin olive oil in the past. In July of 2010, the UC Davis Olive Center released a report showing that 69 % of imported olive oils labeled as extra virgin failed the IOC sensory standards, and in September of 2012,
Consumer Reports published results of its testing of extra virgin-labeled samples, showing that only 9 of 23 met the standards. Some states, such as California, have adopted stricter labeling and grading standards in response to these revelations.
Sally Greenberg, executive director of the NCL, notes that in addition to mislabeling, degradation throughout the shipping and storage process could be responsible for the results. “When that happens, consumers are paying top dollar for that EVOO label without getting the enhanced health and taste benefits,” she explains.
The NCL informed the six companies whose oils failed the tests about the results without publishing their names to “to give them an opportunity to address the situation that their oils are not reaching consumer shelves as represented.”
Article by WholeFoods Magazine StaffsourceVN:F [1.9.22_1171]VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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