An inside look
Over recent years there has been substantial research into the Mediterranean diet. The results may shock you or may not be a surprise; they showed some big benefits for your health. The NHS has confirmed that people following a Mediterranean diet had a 30% lower risk of heart disease and strokes. Also, research presented at the July 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference suggest people who follow the Mediterranean diet are more likely to maintain cognitive function as they age. Other studies have shown the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of: dementia, prevent or improve type 2 diabetes as well as some cancers. So why is the Mediterranean diet healthy? Having lived and grown up in Spain, I was raised on the Mediterranean diet, now being back in England I’ve realised just how much I loved it. Therefore, I think there are 2 main points as to why the diet is so healthy:
•The variation & proportion of what is eaten
•The freshness & quality of food
The main ingredients of the Mediterranean diet are: Fresh fruits, salad, vegetables, grains (mostly whole), olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs, spices & plenty of fish. Mediterranean cuisine is full of natural, healthy produce. The vast majority of the ingredients are normally produced locally or in that country.
Fish is predominately consumed more than meat. Fish is a lot leaner, full of omega oils, less fatty and full of protein, so is generally the healthier alternative to meat. Fish are freshly caught that day and taste amazing! Mediterranean citizens also enjoy poultry, red meats, eggs, cheese, yoghurts. These are consumed in smaller portions than in Northern Europe. Plenty of us may like a cheeky ripple, chocolate button or yorkee yoghurt after dinner (I’m guilty of this), but every time I have stayed with Spanish friends or family, a bowl of delicious fresh fruit was brought to the table for afters.
So, after researching & taking from my own experience, the Mediterranean diet offers great benefits for us all because of the variation, freshness & quality of food. Switching from butter to olive oil as much as possible is a great start. More fish less meat? More vegetables and fruit? A little less cheese, eggs and sweets? More beans, seeds & whole grains? The benefits are there and even if I do say so myself it’s a tasty diet!