Italians, Greeks and other people living in countries near the Mediterranean Sea generally live longer than people in other parts of Europe or the United States. They suffer from low rates of cancer and heart disease. Scientists found that Greeks smoke more tobacco and exercise less than Americans. Also, Greeks spend less money on health care and live longer than most Americans. Scientists believe that Mediterranean foods maybe the reason for this difference. Traditionally, people who live in the Mediterranean area eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables, beans, noodles, rice and other grains. They also eat moderate anounts of fish, chicken and milk products. They eat red meat and eggs only about four times a month. Experts say that is because olive oil contains large amounts of Vitamin E. Most Americans, however, eat milk products such as butter and margarine. These foods contains fats that can lead to heart disease and other problems. Drinking one or two glasses of wine also is a common custom in the Mediterranean. Health and Food experts say drinking moderate amounts of wine while eating may reduce the chance of heart disease.
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