The Mediterranean Diet is considered, by many, to be one of the healthiest diets on the planet. Although it is not for everyone, it does fit for most people. And it’s certainly a tasty diet with recipes from the entire mediterranean region.
One of the reasons it’s so healthy is that it is not just about food. The editerranean diet is a lifestyle that has been around for thousands of years. It’s about food, being social, happy, and physically active.
The people of Greece, Crete, southern France, and parts of Italy are known to follow this lifestyle. They live longer, and that is partly because of the food they eat, but also because of the way they eat and interact with others. They believe in sitting down and taking their time eating. They enjoy eating with others as a social event. And because they are chatting and relaxing they get full sooner than most people and don’t tend to eat as much. They believe in exercising every day. This can be walking, working around the house, gardening, biking, hiking, what ever the person enjoys. They tend to see life from a relaxed stance. They don’t worry and make themselves sick with fast deadlines that pump up the adrenaline. They breathe deep and stay calm.
Their diet is also full of rich omega-3 fatty acids. We tend to eat a lot of omega-6’s from packaged and prepared foods and fail to balance it out with enough omega-3’s. We need both. Omega-6’s are pro-inflammatory. And as that sounds bad, we need some inflammation. Omega-6’s are important for cell growth, they strengthen the brain, produces hormone messengers, and are important for our nervous system.
But in order to stay healthy we need to balance omega-6’s with omega’3’s which are not pro-inflammatory. The problem is when we let this balance get ‘out-of-balance’, the omega-6’s can become deadly. When we have an imbalance, omega-6 can create massive amounts of inflammatory issues in the body, including coronary heart disease which can be a silent killer.
Omega-3’s can counter depression and anxiety, improve eye health, reduce symptoms of ADHD, lower triglycerides, lower blood pressure, can raise “good” HDL cholesterol, help prevent blood clots, help prevent plaque build up, and reduce inflammation. So eat your omega’3’s!!!
Eating a diet rich in omega-3’s can counter the omega-6’s and this helps your body stay healthy and active. And the mediterranean diet is loaded with omega-3’s!
People that follow this diet have lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes than we do here in the United States.
What does the diet consist of as far as food? A lot of extra virgin olive oil. But make sure you are buying real olive oil; here in the States manufacturers are allowed to mix in canola or other transfatty oils to thin the olive oil out and they are not required by law to add that information to the label. And olive oil is healthiest when it is used raw. If you decide to cook with it, cook at low temperatures so you don’t end up turning it into a transfat.
The diet also includes seasonal fruits and veggies, unprocessed grains, and wild caught fatty fish. They eat dairy, (but avoid this if you have allergies), mostly the dairy they eat is from goats. They enjoy eggs and eat the white and yolk together, generally limiting eggs to 3 or 4 per week but this is about intuition rather than rules. If you don’t have food sensitivities go for eggs everyday if you like. For snacks they enjoy nuts and on special occasion they have desserts. As far as meat and saturated fats they eat in moderation and savor the meal. The diet enjoys a lot of legumes, oregano, and lemon. And best of all they like a glass of red wine with their evening meal and love a good cup of coffee. They enjoy their food, their families and their lives.
Foods they avoid are all processed and refined foods. They eat the way their ancestries ate.
So eat, move your body, enjoy life, laugh, love, socialize, and share a glass of wine!
If you have any questions about how to follow this diet don’t hesitate to contact me for more information.