The Mediterranean diet is not a new fad diet, it’s a way of eating that has been around for centuries. It’s a way of eating that originated in the Mediterranean region and it primarily focuses on plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
But it’s more than just about the foods eaten, the Mediterranean diet encompasses all areas of life for a healthy brain, body and long life span.
Plant Based Meals
The Mediterranean diet places an emphasis on plant based meals. A plate of vegetables should also include a small amount of protein and fat, but the main course should be plant based.
An ideal dinner would be a plate of spinach, tomatoes and beans, topped off with a small piece of broiled salmon and poached egg. End your meal with a piece of fresh fruit if desired.
You can create limitless combinations that are centered around vegetables and fruits and this is just one example.
There have been numerous studies showing how the mediterranean diet effects our longevity and brain function positively. All studies conclude that the eating plan increases life span and quality of life.
The most recent study was conducted in two parts; part one followed participants over the age of 65 for 8 years, with the second part analyzing the findings not only of the first part of the study, but also 6 other study results.
The collective data was from over 12,000 study participants and the conclusion reached was that there is a definite link between the Mediterranean diet and longevity.
Improved Brain Function
The Mediterranean diet can add years to your life and life to you years. The green vegetables and fruits (especially berries) emphasized in the diet have been shown to help protect against progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells.
The diet is rich in antioxidants and two types of healthy fat: monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating like a Mediterranean helps reduce the risk of age-related brain diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
You don’t have to wait until you get older to reap the benefits of following the Mediterranean diet, the benefits of the foods will improve brain function and cognitive skills even in younger people.
This way of eating is naturally low in fat and promotes eating fresh foods when possible. Less fat and processed foods helps prevent obesity and all the health problems which can occur from being chronically overweight.
Exercise is also encouraged on the eating plan. Staying active helps stave off obesity, heart disease, arthritis and a host of other diseases. Exercise also reduces stress and causes your body to release edorphines, also known as feel good hormones, that make you feel happy.
Don’t Eat Alone
Busy schedules have many people eating alone in the car while traveling or at their desk while working. The Mediterranean diet encourages enjoying meals with family and friends so you can feel connected with others.
The sense of belonging, of being needed helps slow down the aging process and promotes longevity. It’s said that laughter is the best medicine, and an evening meal shared with good friends, topped off with a small glass of red wine, is perhaps better for your health than some of your prescription medicines.
Bringing It Together
Anti-aging, longevity, along with a healthy mind and body can be brought together on you meal plates three times a day with the Mediterranean diet.
- Work towards having 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Switch to whole grain breads, pasta, cereal and rice.
- Snack on nuts such as cashews and walnuts are loaded with good fats.
- Swap to natural nut butters to replace the kinds loaded with hydrogenated fat.
- Replace butter and margarine with olive oil.
- Use spices and herbs to add extra flavor to foods.
- Limit dairy products to twice a day, and then choose low-fat dairy products. Fat-free yogurt, milk and cheese is best for longevity.
- Eat fresh fish twice a week. Salmon, tuna, mackerel or trout are heart-healthy and loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.
- Limit red meat to only once a week, and make the portion about the size of a deck of cards. Eating red meat has been associated with brain decline as people age.
- High fat, processed meats, like sandwich meat, sausage and bacon should be avoided.
- Enjoy a small glass of red wine or grape juice each day to help promote a healthy brain, body and increased longevity.