In this modern world, we often hear stories how young people suffer from various diseases like diabetes, stroke, and so on more quickly. We used to think that stroke happens to adults over 50, but today we see adults in their 40s, 30s, or even 20s are coping with stroke. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showed that the number of people aged 15 to 44 treated from stroke soared to more than third between 1995 and 2008. Fatty food, smoking, less exercise, stress at workplace contribute to the alarming number of young people with such a symptom.
The key to a healthy living starts with what we eat every day. Just imagine our grandmas and grandpas are still healthy in their 80s and 90s, and we are wondering why they still look healthy. Yes, food plays a vital role in helping us gain more healthy body and mind. The question is: Do we watch what we eat every day? Do we eat fruits and vegetables regularly? Our busy schedules seem to prevent us from eating healthier food as we consider it as a little complicated. Burger and French fries, or another instant food can save your time, but what happens if we eat those almost every day?
Realizing how they are facing more health risks, young people are not busy finding information on the net about how to eat a delicious, but healthy food. They are trying to find various dietary types they think suitable with their health problems. One of the most favorite food types is Mediterranean Diet. We will explain more about the history of Mediterranean diet, food ingredients you can include, and the health benefits.
Mediterranean Diet: a Brief History
The Mediterranean diet is a diet type from a traditional dietary pattern on Italy, Spain, and Greece as well as other Mediterranean nations. The diet increases the consumption level of vegetables, fruits, cereals, whole wheat products, and olive oil, with a moderate to high intake of fish, moderate intake of dairy products, mainly yoghurt and cheese, and small meat and meat products use.
This dietary pattern gained its popularity in the 1990s, when the most familiar version of Mediterranean diet was introduced by, among others, Dr.Walter Willett of School of Public Health Harvard University. It is Ancel Keys, an American scientist in a small town of Salerno, Italy, who publicized the Mediterranean diet in 1945.
We use olive oil in this eating pattern instead of cooking oil. Unlike other animal fats used in the American diet, olive oil reduces cholesterol level in human’s blood. Moreover, research shows a diet with little saturated fat is the best treatment for diabetes type 2. Olive oil, despite its high calories, can lower level of obesity.
There is no single type of Mediterranean diet as there are several differences in the Mediterranean countries’ eating habit. People in North Italy use lard and butter still use fat for cooking, besides olive oil. While in both Middle East and North Africa, staple fats are from rendered butter (samna) and sheep’s tail fat.
Food List You Can Include
As this dietary pattern emphasizes on high consumption of colorful vegetables and fruits, so make sure you include vegetables like carrots, eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and fruits like grapes, berries and so on in your shopping list. Don’t forget to include legumes, whole wheat products (whole grain bread, pasta, brown rice, oatmeal are the best options), and nuts. While in cooking, you can use herbs and spices like oregano, dill leaves, basil leaves, to reduce the use of salt.
What about fish? We can consume fish and poultry in place of red meat. Choose Omega-3 fatty fish like tuna, salmon, herring, sardines, salmon, mussels, and shrimp. Those are good for your memory and heart, and most physicians recommend that you consume seafood twice a week. Make sure you limit the intake of poultry, meat, sweetened desserts, and eggs.
What to drink? You still can drink wine, but water is the main beverage as it boosts energy level and cleans your body. The main point is to balance your food intake. You still can drink wine and eat grilled rib steak but in a small portion.
You think that preparing dishes for this diet is too complicated? No worries. There are many easy Mediterranean recipes you can try and modify. From Morocco to Italy, from Spain to Greece, there are many excellent and delicious recipes, and you don’t need too long to cook and serve it.
What you should not forget is daily activity. Try not to be too lazy. From regular physical exercise to doing households, keep your body moving.
What are the health benefits?
Researchers have compared people adopting this diet and who don’t. It shows that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of developing heart disease or cancer. In addition, this dietary pattern reduces the chance of gaining type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, which are often linked to cardiac and vascular diseases, and other complication. Mediterranean diet also cuts the risk of developing memory-related diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and lowers the death rate by 20% at any age.
According to a systematic review in 2011, the Mediterranean diet is more effective than a low-fat diet in lowering the risk of having cardiovascular disease. A five-year study involving 7,447 indicated that this type of diet reduced the risk of heart disease by about 30%. People choosing this dietary pattern also develop less risk of having depression, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Adopting Mediterranean diet, moving your body, and stopping cigarettes lead you to a better life.