A Mediterranean Diet
If you're among the many young people looking for a dietary plan that both promotes good health and may extend your lifespan, then you've no doubt come across the Mediterranean diet.
Growing research suggests that this popular lifestyle style of eating, which focuses on plant-based foods with moderate amounts of fish, cheese and red wine, is associated with an array of health benefits, including living longer!
The Mediterranean diet may promote healthy aging
The Mediterranean diet is a pattern of eating that is based on the traditional foods consumed in the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The diet has been shown to improve health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. observational studies have also suggested that the Mediterranean diet may promote healthy aging and protect against cognitive decline and memory loss.
Emphasis on healthy ingredients
Though fad diets come and go, the Mediterranean diet has stood the test of time. Found in countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain, this way of eating has been around for centuries. So, what sets the Mediterranean diet apart from other popular diets?
For one, the Mediterranean diet is not a diet in the traditional sense of the word. It's not about counting calories or eliminating certain foods groups. Instead, it's a way of eating that focuses on fresh, whole foods.
Fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are staples of the Mediterranean diet. This emphasis on healthy ingredients is one of the reasons why the diet has been linked with lower rates of heart disease and cancer.
Another difference between the Mediterranean diet and other diets is that it’s not restrictive. There’s no need to give up your favorite foods or feel guilty if you indulge every once in awhile. Balance is key to this way of eating.
So, if you’re looking for a sustainable way to eat that includes delicious food and plenty of variety, the Mediterranean diet may be right for you.
Olive oil, grains, fish, fruits and vegetables
The Mediterranean diet incorporates many of the significant culinary influences from around the Mediterranean Sea, such as olive oil, grains, fish, fruits and vegetables. Whole foods are emphasised across the diet with little to no processed ingredients included.
Some examples of a typical meal in this dietary style include: grilled fish topped with lemon juice, a side dish of roasted vegetables like eggplant and bell peppers, a salad composed of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and feta cheese, and perhaps some hummus.
This type of eating is often accompanied by simplistic seasonings such as garlic, oregano or black pepper. The Mediterranean diet encourages eating whole foods in their natural form to benefit from maximum nutrition while also focusing on variety and flavour.
Greek yogurt in your morning smoothie
Eating a Mediterranean diet is an excellent way to have a delicious and healthy lifestyle. A great starting point is to re-imagining common dishes with a Mediterranean twist.
For example, swapping out iceberg lettuce for some fresh arugula, replacing full-fat dairy with Greek yogurt in your morning smoothie, or using roasted vegetables rather than red meat to bulk up salads or sandwiches.
Enjoying a spread of hummus and homemade pita chips may become your daily go-to snack, while colourful plates brimming with roasted salmon with aromatic herbs and zesty lemon sauce can be part of lunch or dinner every day.
End your meals on a sweet note with treats like caramelized apples served over oatmeal steel-cut oats for breakfast or slices of tart citrus for dessert. Alternatives such as these make transitioning to the Mediterranean diet both possible and savoury.
Incorporating the Mediterranean diet
Incorporating the Mediterranean diet into your lifestyle is easier than you might think. Rather than needing to completely overhaul your diet all at once, start by gradually adding more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains into your meals.
Focus on replacing processed and refined foods where you can with whole food options that are as close to their natural form as possible. Simultaneously, begin introducing healthy fats including olive oil, fish and avocados which are essential components of a sustainable Mediterranean diet.
Incorporating these small changes over time is an easy way to get started on the healthy eating plan without feeling overwhelmed!