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For some, the Mediterranean diet is just an optional eating plan when looking for a healthy lifestyle regimen. But for those in the know …. who have actually had the pleasure of visiting the Mediterranean countries on holiday, or better yet, actually live in this part of the world, you’ll know that it is so much more than just a diet.

You could be in a teeny kitchen in a cold far off land, but I guarantee you, that once you start combining the fragrance of fresh green basil, with crushed garlic, and cut into a juicy red pepper, … or perhaps smell the rich gorgeous cherry tomatoes roasting and sizzling in the oven in golden olive oil and rosemary …. that by simply closing your eyes, you’ll notice a smile creep onto your face and you’ll be transported into that blissful, sunny land once more.

So, what exactly is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet itself can be traced back to Crete, the largest of Greece’s islands, which out of interest has the highest olive oil consumption per head in the world. It also has the lowest death rate from cardiovascular disease and the highest proportion of centenarians.

It developed out of a region which offered little pasture for raising animals, but a lot of sun and sea. As a result, it’s people have traditionally lived on quantities of ripe fruit, herbs, seafood and bread, with relatively little meat and dairy produce. And they used a lot of olive oil. In Greece, it is said that the average person gets through over 20 litres of olive oil in a year.


Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Most of us know that it is one of the healthiest of culinary oils as it helps reduce blood levels of cholesterol, contains lots of monoun saturates and is low in omega 6. Other benefits include:

The Mediterranean Diet

· It reduces gastric activity, and helps to protect against ulcers

  • · It prevents constipation, and may even reduce the risk of colon cancer


· It stimulates bile secretion and reduces the risk of gallstones


· It reduces wear and tear on the brain and other organs and thus reducing the effects of ageing


· It speeds the healing of wounds



Did you know that Spain is the largest producer of olive oil, with over 300 million trees, and accounting for 35% of the worlds olive oil?

Now you do!

How to choose your oil?

Learning to appreciate olive oil can be just as satisfying as wine-tasting. Variations depend on the country of origin, the soil, the variety of the olives used, the harvest and the method of pressing. The very highest quality oil is the small amount that oozes out of the olive paste without any added pressure. The Spanish call it the “flor del aceite”, or flower of the oil.


Traditional presses extract only about half the oil from the paste using pressure alone: this is the “first pressing”, which may also be labelled “cold pressed”. Modern presses and centrifuges are able to extract more oil without using heat. After the cold pressing, heat can be used to extract more oil from the paste, but the flavour will be degraded.

Virgin olive oil

Oils produced without the use of heat or additional chemicals are classified according to their level of acidity – the proportion of oleic acid in the oil. The lowest acidity gives the best flavour.

  • Extra virgin olive oil has an acidity less than 1 per cent (the best oils have less than 0.5 per cent acidity)
  • Fine virgin has an acidity less than 1.5 per cent
  • Semi-fine virgin has an acidity less than 3 per cent

Refined oils

Oils produced from second and subsequent pressings, using steam and solvents, have to be refined to lower their acidity and neutralise flavour. The flavour may then be improved by adding a small proportion of extra virgin olive oil. The result is called “pure olive oil” or simply “olive oil”.

It takes four men to dress a salad:
a wise man for the salt,
a madman for the pepper,
a miser for the vinegar,
and a spendthrift for the oil.


Olive Oil Beauty Recipe

The Meditarranean Diet

Another beauty of this oil is its versatility: have you ever considered using olive oil to pamper yourself with, used as a body scrub? Mix together half a cup of olive oil with 2 Tablespoons of sea salt. Take a shower, and while your skin is still wet, rub the mixture over your body like an exfoliator for a silky smooth skin (avoid any broken skin).






And why not take that shower while roasting your vegetables Mediterranean style?


Mediterranean Vegetables

Roasted Mediterranean vegetables

2 red peppers, de seeded and chopped

2 aubergines, cut into chunks

3 red onions, cut into chunks

2 zucchini,sliced

4 plum tomatos,halved

8 garlic cloves, peeled

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 sprigs of thyme

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Put all the vegetables into a roasting tin, pour over the olive oil; and mix together making sure that all vegetables are well-coated. Add the thyme, salt and pepper, then place in a preheated oven of 220 degrees Celsius, for about thirty-five to forty minutes, or until the vegetables are tender (stir occasionally).

You’ll be able to sit back and enjoy some of the many benefits the Mediterranean Diet  lifestyle has on offer irrespective of where you are in the world.

However, for the full benefits, come and visit us soon on the Costa Del Sol. In fact why you´re here why not look for the Perfect Holiday Home

The Mediterranean Diet


Published in Costa del Sol Property News |