THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
The Mediterranean diet is a way of life. It is not only about the food you eat but the way you eat, who you eat with and how you eat. It’s a lifestyle diet that many are starting to embrace.
The main components of the traditional Mediterranean diet are fresh and whole foods and is purported to have health benefits that promote a longer healthier life. A large variety of vegetables, fruits, olive oil, grains and fish are the focus of each meal, with less of a focus on red meats and dairy.
In modern society we are often guilty of not eating enough vegetables. Having a good quantity of vegetables in our diet daily is essential for good health. Not only are they delicious and versatile, they are jam packed full of vitamins and nutrients. The natural fibre in vegetables helps us to feel full and helps to keep our sugar levels on an even keel. Not only that, but the fibre in fresh vegetables allows the digestion to work in harmony as it is meant to.
We hear a lot about grains being not so good for us. In the Mediterranean diet, wholegrains are an integral part of the meal. The key is that the grains are in their whole form and haven’t been refined or processed. There are many vitamins and minerals in wholegrains that aid in a balanced diet.
Another key component of the diet is good quality fats. These fats are natural fats from nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil, olives and omega 3 dense fish such as sardines and salmon to name a few. Quality fats are fantastic for the metabolism and keep our heart and brain healthy, reducing inflammation within our body. Red meat is kept to a minimum, whilst free range chicken is eaten in moderation.
With main meals, a glass of red wine is encouraged
as it is rich in antioxidants and full of resveratrol, often called the anti-ageing ingredient. Everything in moderation and quality is very important in the Mediterranean diet. This includes not only the alcohol but also the food.
Apart from the dietary component, the lifestyle is also important when considering the benefits of this diet. In countries surrounding the Mediterranean
Sea, food is prepared with family and friends, meals are served in a relaxed atmosphere, never rushed and accompanied with laughter and love. It is not uncommon for families to sit around the table slowly eating, laid-back and happy to take their time, not rushing off to do something or be somewhere. From a health point of view, this eating plan is a holistic way of living, full of nurturing for both the body and the soul.
Not only does the food eaten help to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, balance blood sugars, improve digestion, and enhance a healthy heart and brain, it also allows for carefree enjoyment of meals in the company of family and friends. The preparation of the food and the dining experience is just as important as the food consumed. Many Australians lack the time and effort to enjoy this way of eating. The bonding and sharing of this lifestyle cannot be underestimated as being good for the body, spirit and general wellbeing.
If you would like to feel that you are on holiday in the Mediterranean on a daily basis, then this eating plan may be for you.