Now Celebrating 25 Years!
(1991 – 2016)
The food we eat has far-reaching effects on every aspect of our health, and one of the best cuisines for our health comes from the sunny shores of the Mediterranean.
The foods of Greece, Italy, Northern Africa, and the surrounding areas have long been associated with healthy eating, thanks to the prominence of natural ingredients, fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood, and healthy oils and fats. Although pizza and fried calamari may come to mind, this diet uses less cheese, less fried foods, and less red meat than our western ways. And these changes could make a big impact on your health, no matter what age you begin working them into your diet.
Heart health and brain health are particularly well-served by eating a Mediterranean diet. Linked to longevity, higher brain mass, and reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes, these foods taste amazing too! Let’s take a look at some of the all-stars of the Mediterranean diet.
All of the healthy benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet are found in one magical liquid—olive oil. With antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil has been linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, certain cancers, high cholesterol, heart disease, and more. One gem of advice from the Mayo Clinic: “Remember that you can’t make unhealthy foods healthier by adding olive oil to them.”
Fatty fish, like wild salmon, sardines, and herring are not only high in protein and B12, but in those ever-important Omega-3 essential fatty acids. According to Bebrainfit.com,“Omega-3 EFAs are a key structural component of brain cell membranes and nerve cells. It’s no exaggeration to say that the quality of your brain cells depends on the availability of these healthy fats.” Omega‘s are also anti-inflammatory and have been shown to boost your mood. So grill those salmon filets with a little olive oil, and your brain will thank you!
Marinara sauce, Caprese salad, or Tomato Gazpacho—so many lovely dishes from the Mediterranean feature fresh tomatoes. High in Lycopene, tomatoes are among the antioxidant-rich foods that protect against free radical damage to your cells (one of the causes of dementia; particularly Alzheimer’s). Try some of these recipes that make the most of the tomato while boosting your health!
Technically classified as a berry, the avocado is comprised of nearly 75% monounsaturated fats, which support good brain health, memory, and learning. Avocados also deliver potassium, magnesium, vitamins C, E, K, and the B vitamins. Plus, this smooth-tasting food aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, meaning that eating avocados with other vegetables or in a salad actually makes your body absorb the nutrients from the neighboring veggies even more effectively. This berry is a superstar.
This large red fruit is an explosion of seeds, juice, and healthy nutrients. We come back to antioxidants with the pomegranate, which have anti-inflammatory properties and fight free radicals in the environment. What sets this Mediterranean fruit apart is something called punicalagin, an antioxidant three times more powerful than those in red wine or green tea. Whether consuming pomegranate juice or the arils inside (the edible seeds within the fruit), your body will revel in tons of vitamins, fiber, folate, and even 3 grams of protein.
It is never too late—or too early—to begin eating like you’re on the shores of the Mediterranean. Health benefits for everything from your skin, hair, brain, and heart can be found in these foods. Visit our Pinterest board for healthy recipes, and join us in celebrating International Mediterranean Diet month this May!