October 31 2023 – Laurance Viljoen
A Mediterranean diet can help fight against heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and cognitive decline. Whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, vegetables, and olive oil are the main components of a real Mediterranean diet – And you can even enjoy an occasional glass of wine over the weekends…
The Mediterranean diet is about more than just eating fresh, wholesome food. Daily physical activity and sharing meals with others are vital elements. Naturally, changing your diet is rarely easy, particularly if you're attempting to give up the comfort of processed and fast food. However, following a Mediterranean diet can be a very affordable, fulfilling, and healthful way to eat. Making the switch from pizza and pasta to fish and chickpeas may take some effort, but you could soon be on the path to a healthier and happier you. Here's how to make the switch.
The Mediterranean Diet consists of:
- High intake of Vegetables (Broccoli, beets, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, celery, eggplant, kale, leeks, artichokes, tomatoes, radishes, leafy greens.)
- High intake of Legumes (Chickpeas, lentils, beans.)
- High intake of Fruits (Berries, grapes, peaches, nectarines, pomegranate, apples, pears, melon.)
- High intake of Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts.)
- High intake of Oily Fish (Salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, trout.)
- Other White Meats (Fish & chicken.)
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Whole Grains (Brown rice, oatmeal, bran, barley, quinoa.)
- Fermented Dairy Products (Unsweetened Greek yogurt & unprocessed cheeses.)
- Low intake of Red meat, Red wine and Dark chocolate – Limit to weekends only.
- Preventing heart disease and strokes - Excellent for cardiovascular health, especially lowering blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol (Dyslipidemia) obesity and preventing other heart diseases.
- Better glucose control in diabetic patients.
- Decreased incidence in the development of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
- Improving insulin resistance.
- Reduce your risk of developing muscle weakness, other signs of frailty and age-related cognitive dysfunction and decreased incidence of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s.
- Excellent for weight loss.
- Beneficial for improving gut health (Microbiome).
- Reduction in inflammation and oxidative stress markers.
- May reduce the risk of common cancers.
- Improves sleep quality.
- Increases longevity.
- Exclude all Refined Sugars and Carbohydrates from your diet (White / Brown sugar, syrup, sweets, cookies, ice cream, pastries, processed foods, white bread, white rice, pasta, packaged cereal.)
- Exclude Trans Fats (Margarine and other processed foods.)
- Limit intake of Starchy Vegetables (Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and butternut.)
- Drink enough Water (At least 1 glass of water for every 10kg body weight.)
- Moderate amount of Exercise Daily (at least 30 min per day.)
- Aim for 7,5 - 9 hours of high-quality sleep each night.
- Take a high-quality Multivitamin, Probiotic, Calcium, Magnesium and Omega 3 supplement daily.
The Mediterranean diet offers a myriad of health benefits that extend far beyond just weight management. Its emphasis on whole foods, rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats, has been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improve overall well-being, and promote longevity. So, whether you're seeking to enhance your heart health, manage your weight, or simply enjoy a more vibrant and fulfilling lifestyle, the Mediterranean diet stands as a compelling choice for achieving those goals. The Mediterranean Diet is the typical diet in two of the five so-called ‘blue zones’ - locations renowned for healthy ageing and lower rates of disease. Make this dietary shift today and savour the lifelong benefits it has to offer.