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Why You Should Change to the Mediterranean Diet

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Author: JoBeth Levina

It's amazing the difference a change in diet can make, but if you really want to commit to long term differences, forget about dieting and think more about a lifestyle change. If you do manage to change your diet successfully you'll benefit from fat loss, increased energy, better skin tone; you'll feel better and more confident; and you're more likely to live longer.

Of course, any change in lifestyle takes some getting used to and the other members of your family, who may not be particularly supportive, may make it difficult for you. If you cook though, you're in control and so much more in control of changing what you eat to healthier options. If you don't have so much control over what you eat, you may be more successful in making smaller changes to your diet so that the changes you make are less sudden. Of course you still aim to follow a healthy diet, but over the course of several months or more.

We're always hearing about healthy diets, but what does a healthy diet look like anyway? In the last few years we've had Atkins, South Beach and all kinds of other fads, but the one that is often referred to as being just about the healthiest you can get is the Mediterranean Diet.

However, it's not so prescriptive as the other diets I've mentioned, as it isn't one that has been artificially created to suit the slimming market - it's based on what people in the Mediterranean countries eat daily and who show a much lower incident of obesity and therefore live longer.

So, how can we start to follow the Mediterranean diet?

First of all you need to moderate the amount of fat in your diet, particularly saturated fats. The Mediterranean is famous for high quality olive oil, which studies have shown to be highly beneficial to health in small amounts and you should be able to find good quality olive oils from Spain, Italy or Greece. The best oil is described as "extra virgin", although if you're not used to it you may find "virgin" or standard olive oils suit you best to begin with.

The Mediterranean diet is also rich in seafood, which results in less animal fat being consumed. Fish is a good source of protein and fish oils are much better than the fats in red meat.

The Mediterranean diet is also rich in fruit and vegetables, perhaps a couple of pieces of fruit and three types of vegetable each day. Other common ingredients include rice, chickpeas, lentils and beans, all of which are good sources of nutrition

There are also other foods that can be consumed in the Mediterranean diet less frequently. Cheese and milk products are ok in small amounts a few times a week, some red meat once or twice a week. You can even eat chocolate providing it isn't every day and in small amounts.

Other items you can include are red wine, which is thought by many to help combat heart disease providing it is only a glass or two a night. Any more than this can cause serious long-term health damage.

So that's it, I hope you are able to start changing your diet and experiencing the positive side effects that result.

In addition to the health benefits described above, following a healthy, balanced diet can also help boost your immune system, which is essential for fighting illness and conditions such as cold sores. For advice on other cold sore treatments see


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