ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET TODAY
A way of eating that anyone can follow!
Much of what we know today about the Mediterranean Diet has helped us gain insight into replacing many of the highly processed & less beneficial food products with more fresh, less refined & seasonal produce. It is a traditional way of eating that is still relevant today.
Large randomised control trials have been conducted over extensive periods of time and have shown clear benefits on cardiovascular disease, reducing blood pressure, inflammatory markers, cognitive function and metabolic disorders.
It is evident that there are many positive attributes pertaining to this style of eating and certain foods such as extra virgin olive oil, oily fish and nuts have been shown to be beneficial in all trials conducted.
By increasing fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, nuts/seeds and lowering refined foods, meat, dairy and sodium (all of which are adopted by the Mediterranean diet protocols) overall health, weight concerns, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other illnesses may improve or be prevented.
No hard to find ingredients!
Many dishes from the Mediterranean diet rely on simple but ripe, flavour filled & robust ingredients which in turn lessens the need for added artificial ingredients. Countless dishes from the region base themselves on good quality extra virgin olive oil. One of the health qualities is the fact that it contains so little saturated fat & has numerous benefits to our health such as decreasing the risk of heart disease, its anti inflammatory value, its ability to lower blood pressure & many more positive effects it can have on our health.
Olive oil is so versatile it can be used in an assortment of dishes from salads, sauces, dipping with bread, cooking & much more.
You will often find that this diet relies heavily on seasonal produce & is sourced from the local region where it is grown. This enables the food to be bought at its peak condition with minimal transport, storage & handling. Fruit & vegetables are major components that provide the body maximum access to vitamins, minerals & other trace nutrients.
Fish is a staple of coastal regions of the Mediterranean & often these include oily fish such as anchovies, mackerel & sardines which are high in omega 3 fatty acids beneficial to lowering blood fats (triglycerides), improving joint health, enhancing mental health & more. In Australia we are fortunate enough to be able to source wonderful varieties of freshly caught fish (just be sure to look for fish caught in Australian waters and obtained ethically and sustainably).
In the inland parts of the Mediterranean many dishes profit from the satisfying, nourishing & filling diet of beans or legumes. Much of this modest fare is easy to source, prepare & cook. They are economical, store well and can be added to any meal providing sustenance and are a good source of protein, fibre & vitamins.
Meat is not a highly consumed fare & only makes an appearance on the menu on certain occasions several times a month compared to the Western way of eating. By eating less meat you will also be lowering inflammatory markers throughout the body.
Herbs & spices can be grown very easily by anyone and reduce the need for added salts & flavourings therefore reducing a variety of health issues such as blood pressure & premature death related illnesses.
The consumption of limited red wine also has its place in the diet providing antioxidants & in small amounts can protect against heart disease in healthy individuals.
So in conclusion to incorporate a diet based on the Mediterranean pattern of eating be sure to include the following –
Ø Utilise the health benefits of olive oil in all aspects of your cuisine
Ø Maximise the intake of seasonal fruits & vegetables
Ø Substitute red meat with a variety of oily fish or on occasion lean poultry
Ø Take advantage of the economical benefits of pulses/ legumes
Ø Make the most of herbs & spices to enhance dishes (these also have many health benefits in themselves)
Ø Reduce the consumption of dairy and use full fat when required
Ø Snack on salt free nuts and seeds rather than highly processed cakes & biscuits
Ø Drink water as your main liquid intake & limit red wine to small amounts
Enjoy food x