Mediterranean diets are very popular all over the world. They are indeed very healthy, especially if you can find all the ingredients required. Not all people living in Mediterranean countries follow such diets, although they may consume many of those ingredients much more frequently than others. As with every diet, the key is balance, and it is always best to follow what’s best for you and if possible to get personalized advice from an expert. Every mediterranean diet though has some key ingredients that make it so healthy and in this article i will show you some of those.
Olive oil, is simply oil from olives. It can be used in many recipes, and in a mediterranean diet, there is almost no butter or other oils. It has been shown that olive oil can be a very good antioxidant and even help prevent cancer in some cases. It has anti inflammatory effects on the body, by inhibiting the genetic expression of inflammatory molecules. The flavour is not as sweet as butter, but combined with the right ingredients, it can have an amazing taste. It is associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular events and stroke. Additionally, some consider it food for the brain, claiming that consuming 1-2 tablespoons a day helps them think, similarly to nootropics, although i haven’t found enough evidence for this claim. In general, if you are considering a mediterranean diet or a healthier alternative to oils and butters, olive oil is a great option.
Resveratrol, is a natural phenol found in the skin of grapes, and thus wine too. While the concentration is low in wine, compared to other alcoholic drinks, it is seems to be a much healthier option. We recently made an article here on Qul Mind specifically for this compound that you can read here. It appears that Resveratrol helps prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. It is also an anti-inflammatory compound, neuroprotective and antioxidant. So, grapes and wine are something you should seriously consider adding to your diet. The alcohol content of wine though may harm if you can’t control your intake, so depending on how you can handle alcohol, you may prefer the grapes instead.
Seafood is a very healthy source of protein and it is an essential part of a mediterranean diet. I think it tastes better than meat, and it is more easily digested too. It contains polyunsaturated fatty acids, that are essential for human health, while having low amounts of saturated fatty acids. Some fish are rich in vitamins that also work as antioxidants. Then there are some marine organisms containing compounds that when consumed have unique neuroprotective and anti cancer effects on us. So seafood can have functional compounds, those that work more like drugs instead of nutrients. But at the same time, it has fatty acids and proteins that are healthy and easily digestible. There is only a small concern with heavy metals, but as we have seen before, as long as you buy quality products from trusted sources they will probably be fine.
Some of the most common mediterranean fruits are, oranges, clementines, figs, apricots and grapes. There are many more that are eaten in a mediterranean diet, but those are some of the healthiest ones, with a lot of vitamins, fibre and nutrients. In most mediterranean diets, oranges are very common and recommended as a snack. While most people consume bananas as snacks in their breaks at work or while going home, there are other healthier but less convenient options. The only issue is finding a store that sells good fruits, as i have seen many in the UK selling mediterranean fruits that taste nothing like the real one.
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