Drink Like An Italian, Live Like A Spaniard, Eat Like A Greek!
IN THE SMALL VILLAGE OF ACCIAROLI IN ITALY THE FEAT OF BECOMING A CENTENARIAN ISN’T SO RARE. IN FACT IT’S QUITE COMMON WITH ONE IN EVERY 10 OF THE 700 RESIDENTS EXPECTED TO REACH THE BIG 1-0-0! THIS INCREDIBLE STATISTIC SPARKED THE INTEREST OF SCIENTISTS.
Well these scientists believe the answer is simple… Their diet. Specifically their Mediterranean style diet.
It’s likely you’ve heard something like this before whether specifically about the village of Acciaroli or another part of Southern Italy, Greece or Spain. So, why the Mediterranean diet? What’s so special about it? First of all let's look at the specific foods and dietary practices included in the Mediterranean diet…
- A wide variety of colourful plant foods for example leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, pumpkin etc
- Fermented foods e.g. feta, Greek yoghurt
- Quality wholegrain or sourdough breads
- An abundance of very good quality fats e.g. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, avocado, nuts
- Some meat and animal foods, mostly oily fish, read meat in low amounts
- Lots of herbs and spices (rosemary, basil!)
- Fresh colourful fruit
- Red wine in moderation
Looking a little familiar? Well it might as we’ve loosely used this style of diet as a foundation to create your Meal Plans. Here’s why…
There is now an abundance of scientific evidence showing a strong connection between the Mediterranean diet and numerous health benefits. It has a strong influence on many aspects on health including… reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes and obesity as well as slowing down the effects of ageing. The Mediterranean Diet has also been shown to be incredibly important is weight loss success meaning, weight maintenance. It is so rich in nutrients, whole grains and good fats and as a result doesn’t leave you feeling hungry or deprived.
There are other aspects of the Mediterranean lifestyle that are thought to also contribute to good health.
Being social, eating with others
When you share a meal with others you will likely talk a little more and eat a little slower. This allows your body more time to register that full feeling rather than eating quickly on the go or at your desk and not receiving those messages and as a result potentially overeating. Not to mention it’s a lot more enjoyable to eat with a bit of good conversation, perhaps at work with your work mates to break up the day or with family at dinner time. Another tradition that could also fall under the social umbrella is red wine (in moderation of course). “Resveratrol” is a molecule in red wine that has been linked to longevity aka slowing down the effects of ageing. If you do enjoy drinking wine, having a glass of pinot noir at the end of the week is great way to relax and unwind. It's all about balance and living in a way that you can maintain over your lifetime!
Individuals living in the Mediterranean on average do a lot more manual labour and they walk everywhere! But not to worry, if you do have an office job all you need to do is incorporate a little more movement in your day. If you have the option, catch public transport to work a couple of days a week and walk to the bus or train. Try to get up every half an hour to hour and move around a little. On the weekend, walk somewhere local…a healthy café, the farmers market or do a fun activity when family or friends that gets you outside and moving.
So, this week we want you to try including many different fat options per day as per your meal plans. Don’t always go for the same option, try to be creative! Be social, make eating an enjoyable experience. Invite your friends around and cook your favourite recipe for them (and maybe have a little red wine as well!!).
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