Ideal for those looking to eat more healthily and wholesomely this summer.
We hear about it in the news so often, and we know that adopting one will likely do us the world of good, but what exactly is the much extolled ‘Mediterranean diet’?
Well, what we do know is that it’s a scientifically approved approach to eating, and one which can help fight against heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, inflammation and cognitive decline. But how to actually go about adopting one, we hear you ask. Again.
Okay, enough of the frippery, let’s begin. Here’s how to have a more Mediterranean diet in 6 simple steps, IDEAL for those looking to eat more healthily and wholesomely this summer.
FOCUS ON THE FIBRE RICH
A Mediterranean diet is rich in fibre, which processes sugars gradually, preventing fluctuations in blood sugar, assisting in healthy weight management and maintaining gut health. The British Nutrition Foundation details these items as being high in fibre and incredibly healthy, and they just so happen to feature in the Mediterranean diet heavily:
- Wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats, barley and rye.
- Fruit such as berries, pears, melon and oranges.
- Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn.
- Peas, beans and pulses.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Potatoes with skin.
To mimic the positive effects of the Southern European diet, make sure you include plenty of the above in your meals.
VEGATABLE & PLANT OILS
The high levels of antioxidants in the Mediterranean diet can prevent cells from undergoing a damaging process called oxidative stress, thereby cutting the risk of Parkinson’s disease in half amongst many other potential benefits. Extra virgin olive oil, one of the defining features of the Mediterranean diet, boasts large amounts of antioxidants and healthy fats, without many of the more detrimental aspects of saturated fats.
Do endeavour, then, to cook with vegetable and plant based oils consistently, and whenever needing oil for dressings or a garnish, using the particularly magic EVOO.
Seeing as the Mediterranean is centred around the sea of the same name , the diet of the region features fish until the diners develop gills. Okay, perhaps not that veraciously, but fish is enjoyed with far more regularity here than in most Brit’s diets, particularly the ultra healthy, oily kind.
So, by including more salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, sardines and anchovies in your diet,you’ll be reaping the benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which research suggests can decrease inflammation and potentially lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
REDUCE RED MEAT
Research recommends that the Mediterranean diet may improve cholesterol, glucose levels, and blood vessel health, which can reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer’s, dementia & heart disease. One way to decrease consumption’s risk to the heart, in particular, is through this diet and its relatively low use of red meat, which can be pretty bad for you when overdone. Instead, Southern Europeans get the majority of their protein from plenty of fish, as we mentioned, and also poultry and eggs. Follow suit!
SUPPLEMENT YOUR DIET
If you are someone who likes taking shortcuts and getting the same results, then various supplements are available to mimic some of the positive effects of the Mediterranean diet. If you’re not keen on oily fish, then Omega 3 capsules are available in high street pharmacists. Equally, if you feel like you’re not getting enough iron in your diet because you’ve cut down on red meat, then a moderate amount of iron supplements might also be wise.
A breakthrough supplement formulated by Australian scientists named Synext is also being championed in the country as containing many of the benefits that the Mediterranean diet brings. The R&D Team consists of academic researchers, naturopaths and healthcare professionals have formulated the one-tablet-a-day programme to bring these positive aspects of the diet without all that washing up! Check out https://biogency.com.au/ for more information.
Remember supplements are not a substitute for a balanced healthy diet and as the name suggests, food supplements are only intended to ‘supplement‘ and not replace healthy foods. For more information on supplements, consult your doctor and visit the NHS website.
IN PRAISE OF THE GRAPE
Finally, a decent excuse for a guilt free glass of grape juice. A Mediterranean diet promotes drinking the odd glass of red wine rather than the hard binge drinking this country is often associated with. And though the benefits are small, wine has been reported to possibly lower the risk of heart disease when enjoyed in moderation. Cin cin!