For where there is life, death shall eventually follow.
This is a topic that a lot of us, myself included, like steering clear of, but the reality of the matter is that it cannot be prevented. At some point in time, everyone that is alive today will be no more.
We don’t have control over death but instead, we have control over how long we can live by taking care of ourselves.
We do this by keeping fit, ensuring our muscles don’t wear out and by consuming the right types of food. But what exactly is the right type of food?
Scientists have discovered a diet that promises longevity when taken and followed thoroughly. A diet that not only aids weight loss but also promotes good health to its participants. Today, we take a look at the Mediterranean diet. And no, it does not involve counting your calories.
What exactly is the Mediterranean diet?
As one can guess, the diet is directly linked to the Mediterranean sea. It involves adapting the food ethics and eating habits of the countries that border it. These countries include Italy, Spain, and Greece.
The diet began picking the interest of people in the 1950s when it was noted that people around the Mediterranean region did not record as much heart disease as people in the U.S.
A study was conducted on the people around the sea and the results showed that they were healthier than those from the west and at a lower risk of chronic diseases.
Even though each of these countries have different cultures and agricultural produce, they all have certain things in common.
These include the consumption of:
- Fish, consumed in moderate amounts- this is very common as the sea provides vast varieties of fish and seafood.
- Poultry and dairy- taken in moderation
- Red meat- eaten very very rarely.
- Olive oil for cooking
- Whole grains and legumes that are locally grown and often eaten
- Lots of vegetables and fruits -often eaten
- Honey- taken in moderate quantities
The diet has proven itself worthy and superior to others by reducing the risk of cancers, increasing metabolism rate, and reducing the risk of heart diseases of the people who partake of it.
It also received countrywide recognition when US News and World Report deemed it as the “best overall diet”, this was the second year in a row.
How to get started
You might be intrigued by this diet and are wondering how to begin. This guide will get you started.
Carbs: A plate of Mediterranean food involves low carbs, you can start by avoiding high-carb foods such as potatoes and bread.
Desserts: We all look forward to dessert, it seems like a reward for finishing our food and given to us as a treat. We like it more when it’s ice cream or cake. However, in this diet, you will need to swap out your ice cream for sweet fruits such as pineapples and bananas.
Proteins: For this category, focus on lean protein and white meat from seafood and poultry. Steer clear from red meat as it contains a high percentage of saturated fat.
You should also note that the diet comprises a combination of all these, picking one and neglecting the other will do little to get you your desired results as your body will be lacking certain types of nutrients.
What about alcohol?
People in the Mediterranean region rarely consume beer and opt for wine instead. This too is taken in moderate quantities and limited to at most one glass a day. The glass is accompanied by food and not taken on an empty stomach.
Water remains as the only liquid that is mostly drunk as it is highly beneficial to the body.
Benefits of the diet
Increased brain function.
There has always been a myth that people who live next to water bodies and who consume fish are smarter in school than their counterparts. Well, this is no myth, fish and seafood contain high levels of Omega-3 that boosts the flow of blood to the brain, improving its performance altogether.
Guess it is time to start whipping up fish for your youngsters back at home.
Moreover, with old age comes the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but not for these people. Studies reveal that they were at very low risk of getting those diseases, all thanks to the Mediterranean diet.
Promotes healthy blood sugar
If you take a closer look at the type of food in the diet, you’d notice that there is little to no room for refined food and sugar.
All the sweetness they need comes from fruits and occasionally honey. This leads to healthy insulin production in the pancreas and a moderate blood sugar level that does not keep faltering.
Hence they’re not prone to diabetes, which can be life-threatening.
Good heart health
The heart is among the most vital organs in our bodies, if the heart fails, one’s mortality rate skyrockets. That’s why it should be protected at all costs, and no, not by a shield but by protecting it from the inside out.
This remarkable diet has little to no refined food and is hence low in cholesterol, ensuring your heart is functioning to its best of abilities. Whereas high cholesterol in the heart leads to heart diseases and deathly strokes.
Parting shot: following the Mediterranean diet is a complete meal plan and lifestyle change. You can start by replacing certain foods in your meals with contents from this diet and slowly work your way into going head-on with this.
This may take a month, a few weeks, or a few months. The changes may seem gradual but you’ll end up healthier and feeling better. Better skin is also a guarantee.
Just remember that the whole purpose of this diet is not just to consume fruits and vegetables but everything in the platter, this includes low carbs and lean proteins too. Provide your body with all the nutrients it requires and watch it transform.
And with the coming years, when your colleagues start complaining about body problems that you can’t relate to, you’ll be glad you started.