A Heart for the Mediterranean
More and more medical studies are revealing the negative effects of certain fats. Some cities have even banned the use of Trans Fats in restaurants! All the buzz has put a new focus on the "good" fats such as those found in olive oil. A diet rich in olive oil and other Mediterranean foods may address a number of health concerns. Finally, you can feel good about eating something that tastes so good!
Numerous research studies have shown that eating a traditional Mediterranean diet featuring olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, fish, cheese, yogurt, nuts and red wine in moderation with meals, with relatively little poultry or red meat, is good for your heart and more.
When you substitute olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, for saturated or polyunsaturated fats in your diet you can reduce blood pressure, inhibit the growth of some cancers, prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidizing, reduce triglycerides, help control blood sugar and reduce risk of heart attack. A Mediterranean diet can even help ward off Alzheimer's disease.
Healthful Product Suggestions
The health benefit of olive oil is the amino acids it contains that help to include good fats into your diet without the saturated fat intake.
Consumption of tomatoes has long been linked to heart health. Tomatoes are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, including, their rich concentration of lycopene. Researchers have recently found an important connection between lycopene, its antioxidant properties, and bone health.
Olives are rich in antioxidants and high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
The health benefits of pesto come from its nutrient-dense ingredients. Although high in fat, pesto gets its fat from olive oil and pine nuts, which are both high in healthy unsaturated fats. Pine nuts are nutrient dense and, along with the basil, make pesto a good source of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K and many minerals.
Capsaicin gives heat to hot peppers and is found in the membranes and seeds. Capsaicin has been shown to decrease cholesterol and boost immunity.
One medium artichoke provides 10.3 g of fiber, or 41 percent of the recommended daily value. The fiber found in artichokes, called inulin, promotes intestinal health by stimulating the growth of good bacteria. It is also a soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and maintain balanced blood sugar.