words Al Woods
The Mediterranean Diet is one of the healthiest diets on Earth. It emphasizes plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. The diet also limits meat consumption to only a few times a week and has lots of fish, beans, and healthy fats like olive oil. You can still have wine in moderation too. Preparing for a new diet is a big decision and should not be taken lightly. If you decide to adopt a Mediterranean-style diet, consult your physician first for advice on how to do so safely.
In this article, we will explore what the Mediterranean diet entails, how it’s good for your brain and other organs like your heart, and why you should consider adopting this lifestyle today.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a plant-based diet that emphasizes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, olive oil, legumes such as peas and chickpeas, fish, and shellfish. It also allows for low amounts of red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products. Mediterranean diet meal kits will save you time and allow you to stick to the nutrition program without the extra hassle of planning out your meals. The diet is rich in antioxidants, which can help improve circulation and prevent damage to cells. Antioxidants are also believed to help boost the immune system, protect against chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, promote healthy aging, improve heart health, reduce pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and increase mental sharpness. Olive oil contains a compound that protects your skin from sun damage, while calcium-rich yogurt helps lower blood pressure.
How does it help your brain and heart?
A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that following a Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of having a major cardiac event by approximately 30 percent compared to non-adhere. If you do have an event, the diet could decrease the risk of dying from a heart attack by about 40 percent. The study spanned 10 years with 7,447 participants between 55 and 80 years old living in Spain. Participants’ diets were evaluated every two to four years using a food questionnaire. In this study, those who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet had an approximately 30-40 percent lower risk of cardiac problems compared with those who least followed it.
Study participants who more closely adhered to the Mediterranean diet also had a slower rate of cognitive decline or development of Alzheimer’s disease than those who ate less healthy foods. Experts also noted that people who consistently eat healthier have brains that appear seven years younger than those whose unhealthy eating habits hasten brain aging. A healthy Mediterranean-style diet may slow down or reverse these effects that cause cognitive decline in adults by protecting against damage to the hippocampus, an area that regulates memory and emotions.
Why should you adopt a Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is popular among people for a good reason: It’s delicious! Any way of eating that restricts certain foods can be very difficult to maintain in the long run. Adopting a healthier lifestyle is a worthwhile goal, but it’s important to find a way you can stay on track with your new changes in life. Following the Mediterranean plan doesn’t have to feel like suffering either, it just involves making some simple substitutions when planning your meals each day using common sense and recipes that are rich in fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean proteins.
What should you eat on the Mediterranean diet?
Like we already mentioned, there are a plethora of ingredients you can use for preparing meals while on the Mediterranean diet. Beans, fish, and olive oil are some of the staple ingredients on this diet since they are rich in antioxidants. Here are a few examples of Mediterranean diet recipes that are healthy but still taste great!
- A fish baked with fresh herbs, lemon slices, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. If you prefer chicken, marinate pieces in lemon juice and olive oil before roasting them in the oven. Prepare a medley of grape tomatoes and olives as well as fresh herbs like basil and parsley for a delicious side dish to go along with your main course. Or try adding red wine vinegar to extra virgin olive oil then drizzle it over steamed vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower for nicely seasoned veggies that will take your breath away.
- For dessert, whip up a batch of homemade baklava by combining phyllo dough with walnuts and honey. Simply replace the traditional sugar syrup in this classic recipe with reduced grape juice to make it healthier while still preserving its sweet taste. If you’d prefer something other than Mediterranean-style desserts, opt for fresh fruit instead like pears, oranges or strawberries dipped in dark chocolate or vanilla yogurt.
Tips for following a Mediterranean-style diet
Simply replacing fatty dressings and sauces with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice can make it easier to reduce your calorie intake without depriving yourself of flavor. You can also search online for healthy recipes that fit into this plan so that mealtime never feels boring.
If you’re not used to cooking fresh meals every day, start slowly by preparing one easy dish each week during your free time. Choose something simple but fulfilling like vegetable soup or grilled salmon salad topped with olive oil dressing then gradually incorporate other healthy recipes as you become accustomed to changes in your diet. If using canned beans bothers you, consider buying dried beans and soaking them overnight. Alternatively, you can always opt for quick-cooking alternatives such as pre-washed bagged mixes of lentils or frozen vegetables instead.
Incorporating a Mediterranean diet into your lifestyle is a great way to stay healthy and keep the brain sharp by protecting it from damage caused by free radicals that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. With just a small amount of preparation, you’ll have no trouble staying on track towards achieving this goal while enjoying delicious meals in the process.
Remember to talk with a nutritionist and doctor before you make any radical changes to your nutrition habits. Making small changes here and there is okay, but it’s important to avoid making any major changes that could be harmful to your health.