Today's scientific research on nutrition has recognized the Greek diet among the healthiest in the world. Numerous studies, including one published by the American Heart Association, have shown that people who eat a high monounsaturated fat diet, such as the traditional Greek diet, have a lower risk of heart disease than people who eat more saturated fats, which include butter and margarine. The incidence of heart disease in Mediterranean countries is lower than in the United States. Olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fats, is largely responsible for this excellent bill of health. The ancient Greeks regarded olive oil as a gift from the gods and olive trees were valued as much as gold. Simply put, olive oil reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) which contributes to the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. In turn, it leaves HDL (good cholesterol) which works to actually remove any buildup in the arteries that has occurred. Olive oil is recognized as important in maintaining metabolism and contributes to the development of the brain and bones in children. It is also recommended as a source of vitamin E for older people. A natural anti-oxidant, olive oil slows down the natural aging process. It also slows down acid overproduction in the digestive system thereby diminishing the potential for ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems. Researchers also found that people who consume olive oil have a lower risk for other diseases, too. Studies conducted indicate a link between olive oil consumption and a lower incidence of breast cancer, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
In summary, a Greek diet:
- Helps Control Hypertension
- Encourages Healthy Body Weight
- Reduces Cardiovascular Risk