Nutrition & Mediterranean Diet

You are what you eat. You are also how you eat. And when you eat.

On average when you step on the scale: About 60 percent of your weight is water; about 20 percent Of your weight is fat; about 20 percent of your weight is a combination of mostly protein in muscles, plus carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.

All living things, need food and water to live. Beyond that, we need good food, meaning food with proper nutrients, to live well. If we don’t eat and drink nutritious food and beverages, our bones may bend or break (not enough calcium). Our gums may bleed (not enough vitamin C). Our blood may not carry oxygen to every cell (not enough iron).

What is an essential nutrient ? An essential nutrient is one you need to sustain a healthy body. An essential nutrient is linked to a specific deficiency disease. For example, people who go without protein for extended periods of time develop the protein deficiency disease ‘kwashiokor’. People who don’t get enough vitamin C, develop vitamin-C deficiency disease ‘scurvy’. Not all nutrients are essential for all species of animals. For example, vitamin C is an essential nutrient for human beings but not for dogs. A dog’s body makes the vit. C it needs.

Essential nutrients for human beings include many well-known vitamins and minerals, several amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Minerals essential for human life are Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, sulfur, sodium, potassium and Chloride, besides trace elements like Iron, Zinc, Iodine, Selenium, Copper. Some of them constitute hemoglobin, protect nerve cells and bolster immune system, form thyroid hormones, besides helping the heart muscles to strengthen. In nutshell, all our food items can be the source of these essential elements.

A Boston based preservation trust has created a number of ‘pyramids’ based, ethnic food plans like Asian Diet Pyramid, Vegetarian Diet, Latin American, the traditional Mediterranean diet. The first Mediterranean diet pyramid was released in 1993. This pyramid has lots of fruits and veggies, poultry and lean meat, olive oil, cheese and yogurt --- all accompanied by moderate amounts of wine. As a direct consequence of this diet, the rates of chronic diseases in Mediterranean countries were among the lowest in the world; the adult life expectancy was among the highest even though medical services were limited.

Olive oil, the liquid gold: is linked to head-to-toe benefits; thanks to its antioxidants and unsaturated fats.

It buffers cancer risk: Women who ate Mediterranean diet with olive oil daily had a 62 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer.

It helps the heart: In one trial, people who ate the most olive oil (around 5 tspf a day) cut their risk of cardiovascular related death by 48 percent. Other studies show that an olive oil-rich diet can reduce reliance on blood pressure medicines.

It cuts diabetes risk: Having at least 1 tbsp daily lowered type 2 diabetes risk by 10 percent due to its ability to stabilize blood sugar.

It fights wrinkles: People who consumed more than 2 tsp daily had fewer signs of skin aging than those who ate only 1 tsp or less.

It protects bones: Research suggests regular consumption of olive oil prevents loss of bone mass.
Dr. Tej K.Munshi, {Ex. Prof. in Applied Sciences},
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