For every 4 years of increased life expectancy there is currently only an increase of 3 years healthy life expectancy. Can diet change this? Although there is no one way of eating that is going to suit everyone, the Mediterranean diet (MD) is the one of the most researched diets for a healthy life.
WHAT IS THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET:
🥗 The MD does not focus on one particular food. It is a composite effort.
🥗 The diet is very plant based. High in fruits and vegetables, high in legumes, high in nuts and high in whole-grains.
🥗 Oily fish is consumed 2-4 times a week and red meat no more then once a week.
🥗 Olive oil is the culinary fat, as opposed to animal fats. (refer to my What the Fat?! article for more information on why this is important).
🥗 Salt not really used. Herbs and spices are relied on for flavour.
🥗 Increased fibre- oats are one of the best sources and great for getting LDL cholesterol down.
🥗 Up to one reasonable sized glass of red wine per day (125ml) and no more.
🥗 Low consumption of processed foods. These foods tend to be high in refined carbohydrates, salt and regularly contain palm oil.
Good for cardiovascular disease – Research shows that a MD can have the same effect as anti-hypertensive medication, stiffness of arteries improves. The diet is also anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and improves lipid profile.
Diabetes type 2 – The quality of the carbohydrates involved in the MD are key.
Dementia– 7% of the population develop dementia. High saturated fat and low omega 3 fats (DHA) are of particular concern with respect to dementia risk. Research shows that 200mg of Omega 3 per day is associated with improved cognitive health later in life, as well as improved mood, memory, attention, decision making, language and orientation.
🌍Blue zones are 5 areas of the world where there is much increased longevity of life and reduced incidence of chronic disease.
WHAT BLUE ZONES ALL HAVE IN COMMON:
💙Less interest in time
💙More physical activity as part of normal living rather than organised
💙More socialisation as part of a community