Think Mediterranean - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

08/06/03

Think Mediterranean

Everything Val Lijci makes at his restaurant Napoli's looks decadent. He cooks with olive oil, vegetables, and wine. Every recipe comes from the Mediterranean town he grew up in.

"Mediterranean food is very healthy," he says and doctors agree.

In a recent study, researchers analyzed the diets of more than 20 thousand people living along the Mediterranean. They found people living there are less likely to have heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Nutritionist Mandy Jefferson says it's because people in the Mediterranean eat fresh, healthy foods unlike Americans.

"As Americans we have been taught to limit our fats during the day, but instead of limiting all of our fats what we want to do is reduce the amount of saturated fat that we are eating and actually make an effort to include the good fats on a daily basis. That's what they do in the Mediterranean," she says.

To follow a Mediterranean diet, fill up on whole grains and pastas, fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, feta cheese, and plenty of fish. Plus use olive oil on everything. And drink a glass of wine every day.

"Wine is very healthy," says Val. "We say over there (Italy) he who drinks wine he never going to get sick from heart attack."

But doctors warn the only way this decadent diet can backfire is if you over indulge.

"The saying just because something is good doesn't mean more is better -- olive oil is a fat if we start adding olive oil to everything we eat that's going to be a lot of fat -- so if weight is an issue that's not a good thing. So moderation is key."

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