The Mediterranean diet and lifestyle is fast gaining in popularity with researchers looking into good health and longevity, but why is this? Basically, obesity and diabetes is rife across most or the Western world now, except for the Mediterranean, and the research is linking this back to the type of food that they eat. So, that said, what can we learn from them? Well, one of the first areas researchers assessed the impact on health and longevity of omega-3 essential fatty acids such as those found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Omega 3 is thought to help protect the heart and improve cholesterol levels.
The Mediterraneans are big eaters of fish, so copy them and try and get 2 portions a week into your diet, although they do not both have to be oily fish The next area linking to the good health of the Mediterraneans is olive oil. Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that oleocanthal, a compound in olive oil, may reduce inflammation, which could help prevent conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune diseases, as well as certain cancers. Olive oil is a panacea, the perfect oil for all ages.
And every time scientists look into the reasons behind an olive oil advantage empirically known and employed by the peoples of the Mediterranean, it is certain that they will come across evidence of yet another unique biological attribute. Olive oil, a staple of the region, is also believed to help lower cholesterol and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Olive oil is first choice for investigation as it is used almost exclusively in Mediterranean cooking instead of butter, margarine and other fats. Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fat, which is protective against heart disease, possibly because it displaces saturated fat from the diet. Finally, and this may be of interest to those of you that like a tipple, red wine is a staple part of the Mediterranean diet too. It is important to note this because red wine is full of anti oxidants and flavonoids from the grapes. Flavonoids are being credited for being responsible in the reduction of cholesterol oxidation and healthy blood platelet activity.
So go ahead and have a drink on me to your good health. Now, as important as incorporating omega 3 and olive oil and red wine into the diet is, lifestyle also has a part to play in this too. For the Mediterranean’s, meal times are not about sitting in front of the TV and eating the food as fast as possible. Meal times are long leisurely affairs where the whole family gets together, and discusses their day. I hope you can see the importance of this as it is a good way to unwind and let go of stress that has built up during the day. Also, if you are looking into using this kind of diet to lose weight, eating your food slowly is a great way to start, as it will allow your brain to trigger the chemicals properly when you are full, and this means there is less chance of you overeating.
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