What’s the secret to living longer? According to a recent study, people consuming the Mediterranean diet are physically and mentally healthier. For years, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with higher life expectancy and overall happier people. This diet encompasses the basics of healthy eating with a little more flavor.
Adopting The Mediterranean Diet:
Use oil in everything
Replace butter and margarine with extra virgin olive oil as much as possible. The dominant fatty acid in olive oil is believed to reduce inflammation, which is thought to be one of the leading causes of many serious diseases. Olive oil has been found to fight against cancer, heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis due to its abundance of Vitamin E and K and powerful antioxidants (Olive Oil Times).
But, make sure you use extra virgin olive oil. It’s the only kind that contains all the good stuff you want. There are some sneaky frauds out there, too, so make sure you read your labels!
The More Color the Better
Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of the Mediterranean diet. The more color, the larger the variety of vitamins and antioxidants which help prevent most major diseases- yes please! About six to eight servings a day is the recommended amount. You can spice up any meal by adding some cut up vegetables or fruits, so it’s easy to fill your quota for the day.
This one seems hard, but once you get in the habit, your sweet tooth will calm itself. Instead of all the processed foods that are so convenient, replace your midday snack with some almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds. Or for something sweeter, go for some fresh fruits like oranges in particular which are loaded with Vitamin C. Instead of that piece of chocolate cake or ice cream cone, go for some fruit and yogurt to satisfy your craving for something sweet in between meals.
Whole Grain Everything
Switching from refined to whole grain will do wonders. Try quinoa and oatmeal and switching your pasta and bread over to whole. With whole grains you’ll get fiber, plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals. Making this switch will also help with digestion. Whole grains help your body avoid digesting bad cholesterol which can lead to heart disease and also lower blood pressure.
The Mediterranean Diet isn’t just what you eat, but it’s how you eat it. Instead of always eating on the go, make time for your meals and actually enjoy them. The slower you eat, the more full you’ll feel and the better you’ll digest everything. In Mediterranean countries, food isn’t seen merely as a way to stay alive, but as an experience and part of the culture. The social aspect and experience of meals are just as important as the food being eaten.
Recommended Red Wine
Now for the one you’ve been anxiously waiting for. Wine, more specifically red wine, is part of the traditional Mediterranean diet. Red wine has antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that help fight against heart disease (The Mediterranean Diet). While one (maybe two) glasses with dinner is fine and actually healthy (if your doctor approves), don’t go drinking a whole bottle every night for obvious reasons.