Feature image credit: Spain On Fork
Otherwise known as the sunshine diet full of fruit, vegetables and fish. The Mediterranean diet has links to living longer, healthier and happier, so what exactly is this diet and why is it better for us?
First thing first, the Med diet is not a ‘diet’ in the sense that you are cutting back on foods to lose weight, it is just a selection of foods which are eaten in the countries which lay along the Mediterranean coast line. It just so happens that the fresh foods they have spent years eaten have proven health benefits which have helped those who live there avoid certain diseases, maintain a healthy lifestyle which in turn has helped them live longer lives. It works because they don’t focus on superfoods but instead try to consume a combination of all foods, gathering nutrients from a variety of produce.
The biggest bonus about this healthy food is that it tastes delicious, living off fruit, vegetables, beans, bread, pasta and rice is a diet we can all enjoy. Occasionally they will mix moderate amounts of meat and fish with their meals. Who doesn’t love all these products? Better yet in the warm and sunny climate everything is made fresh at its best. Olive oil, nuts and seeds are also commonly associated with the diet and especially oily fish which all contain healthy fats which are good for you.
So it’s already known that we can to a certain extent predispose illnesses by looking at what we eat, for instance eating fatty foods and processed foods causing excessive weight gain, then you’re more likely to end up with type 2 diabetes and possible heart conditions. However, studies have reported that by eating the Med style diet you’re less at risk of type 2 diabetes, high-blood pressure and raised cholesterol. More studies have also shown that it can help you maintain a healthy weight and promote a good metabolism and gut.
Based around those living in Spain, France, Italy and Greece it’s a delicious and healthy lifestyle change, to start with you can just stop eating processed foods and add more fresh foods into your everyday meals and you will begin to notice a big difference in your energy levels straight away. Once you are used to eating and cooking from fresh you can start to make a switch from relying on meat and start to cook more fish. You’ll notice first that it’s quicker to cook and sits lighter in your stomach, oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are all great for you as they’re high in vitamin D and omega-3.
Although, there is research to suggest like almost every diet it isn’t perfect. With eating so much seafood you have to be careful to not consume too much mercury as this can cause damage to developing nervous systems and effect vital organs in adults, however this is only the case if you consume too much which is extremely rare. To make sure you avoid contaminating yourself avoid eating fish such as swordfish, shark and marlin otherwise eating common fish you’ll be fine.
Overall, the benefits of eating a similar diet as to those living in the sun and bathing in the lushes blue sea will be better for us even if we don’t exactly have the sun or warm glistening sea to go with it. You can have some fun with it still, the next time you light up the BBQ just wrap up some seasoned fish with olive oil in tin foil, whack it on and it’ll be ready in around 2 minutes. Dress it with a Greek salad and other grilled veg. Delicious.
So why not make a change and start small and build up your habits so that you start reaching for those vegetables in your fridge rather than the pizza in your freezer?