A Mediterranean Diet

The summer is an ideal time to start a new lifestyle, so treat your taste-buds to delicious Mediterranean food

A Mediterranean Diet

Over the past few years we have started to understand more about how the food we eat can affect us, both mentally and physically. And researching how other people eat around the world helps us to choose the best diet available to us.

Although the Mediterranean diet was first talked about in the 1940’s, it took until the 1990’s until real data showed that this may be a healthy way for more of us to eat.

Despite the knowledge that people in France and Italy appear to eat more fat than those in Britain, their rates of cardiovascular disease are lower than those in Britain. This could be attributed to a healthier lifestyle – better weather allowing a more ‘out-door’ way of life, and therefore more exercise. There is also genetics to take in to account, although studies appear to show that where diet and lifestyle was changed on people in the Mediterranean, heart disease did actually increase.

A research paper published in 2008 showed that strictly following the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as reducing the risk of developing Parkinsons’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

The basis of the Mediterranean diet is fresh produce (I cannot imagine any French or Italian woman buying a ready-meal!), and cooking great ingredients from scratch.

The basics of this diet include a high intake of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, vegetables, a medium intake of dairy products (mostly as yoghurt and cheese) and a low consumption of meat and meat products.

Red wine, with its’ beneficial flavonoids also features on a regular basis – in moderate amounts!

As with all ‘diets’ this is a long-term lifestyle choice, a diet that should keep you consistently healthy, and what better time to start than now, in the summer months, when our weather allows us to enjoy the best of fresh produce, cooked as simply as possible.

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