We have already established just how important your physical condition is within the corporate executive world. Maintaining your personal well-being means lower chance of work-related absence due to sickness. A major part of leading a healthy lifestyle is proper nutrition. But what if a diet not only kept you lean but also gave you a healthy heart? Even better, what if that same diet helped you live into your hundredth year? Of course you’re thinking it sounds too good to be true! Yet there is a vast amount of research suggesting the Mediterranean diet can do just that. Read on to find out how simply making subtle changes to your diet can help you stay fit and healthy for many years to come.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating followed mostly by those living off the coast of the Mediterranean sea (hence the name). The premise of the diet includes eating mainly plant-based foods. It also includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts. While minimizing the consumption of red meat and replacing it with fresh fish and poultry with most meals. The diet also replaces unhealthy saturated fats such as butter with healthier options such as olive oil.
Although typically stuck to by the residents of the bordering countries of the Med, many ordinary people outside of the Mediterranean (as well of a whole host of scientists) have become more interested in the apparent benefits this way of eating has to offer.
Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
First of all, many of the key components of the Mediterranean diet are the basics of healthy eating. These will of course assist with weight loss and maintaining a correct body mass index (BMI). With that said, numerous research has also linked the diet to lowering the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, research has also suggested that following a Mediterranean diet may also reduce your risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. A lot of this research is linked to the consumption of rosemary. The herb is full of antioxidants as well as being rich with vitamins and minerals. As rosemary and other herbs are used within the diet to flavor food rather than adding salt, this is thought to be a huge factor in the many benefits the diet has to offer.
Moreover, following a low calorie Mediterranean diet for as little as just 8 weeks has been shown to lower blood sugar and reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes. As the number of patients with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes is continuously on the rise, this is a huge step forward to tackling an ongoing battle with the disease.
Most recently though, research has suggested that following a Mediterranean diet can also make you live longer. Scientists have been especially interested in a small town in called Acciaroli in Italy. The town has over 300 centenarians in a population of around 2000 residents. This anomaly has sparked interest with US scientists who are now carrying out a series of investigations as to the town’s secret to long life. Although the key to longevity could be largely due to genetics, scientists have suggested that their local Mediterranean diet could be just as important a factor to reaching your hundredth birthday as good genes.
How to Start a Mediterranean Diet
If the many benefits of the Mediterranean diet has you convinced that this is the kind of lifestyle change you need to make but you don’t know where to start, here are a few pointers on how you can transition and start to eat like a Greek.
- Eat 5-10 servings of fresh (non starchy) fruit and vegetables per day
- Add more good fats like olive oil and canola oil, fresh olives and avocado
- Eat 2-3 portions of fresh fish per week
- Limit red meat to 2 times per month
- Eat more nuts, seeds and legumes
- Make all grains whole-grains.
- Use herbs for flavor instead of salt.
So now you know how to start your own Mediterranean diet and how beneficial it can be. Why not try eating your meals Italian style and see whether it makes any difference to your health?
Nordine is an internationally acclaimed high-performance coach and wellness expert, bestselling author of Mind Over Body and Keynote Speaker fluent in English, French and Italian. He developed and led the revolutionary fitness program at Miraval Resort, a world-class destination spa in Tucson, Arizona for 10 years where he conducted over 8,000 individual coaching sessions with celebrities, high-performance athletes and executives.