Why is the Mediterranean diet good for your heart?
What You Didn't Know About The Mediterranean Diet
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Let's get something straight: the Mediterraneans didn't sit around and say, "Hey, let's create a hot diet." Their diet is not a fad plan that will be here today and gone tomorrow -- it's been around for centuries and it's just as much about feelings as it is about food.
A few months ago the and asked if they could come to my house to shoot a story on a "new" study about the Mediterranean Diet. I couldn't have been happier if I was called and told I won a contest. The added bonus is that they wanted to film me cooking in my kitchen with my children -- my favorite place to be. But the excitement of this assignment was not as much about the appearance as it was about the importance of this piece.
The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are experienced through a lifestyle of eating together with your family, cooking foods that are wholesome and real, and appreciating all that good health brings. A study released last week underscored how this diet could help you live longer and ward off chronic diseases, even if only followed later in life. The stars of the study were fresh produce, healthy fats (like nuts, seeds, and olive oil), whole grains, fish, lean dairy, and even red wine. Previous studies have shown that following the Mediterranean diet can lower your risk of heart disease, preserve brain health, and lower your overall risk of chronic diseases.
This recent research completed at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health studied over 10,000 women in their late 50s to early 60s for more than 15 years to see how their diet impacted their overall health. Their findings included:
- Followers of a Mediterranean diet were 46% more likely to age healthfully, including having a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, cancers, memory problems, and other chronic health issues.
- Greater health and well-being in those surviving to older ages was associated with better diet quality.
- Healthier diets, assessed by questionnaires, were not radically different from less healthy counterparts. These women simply ate more of foods that were healthier and fewer less healthy foods, but were still able to indulge in treats.
So what does this mean for you? Our friends across the ocean showed us that it’s never too late to incorporate more wholesome foods in your diet and to follow a Mediterranean way of life. Foods that don't wear food labels, like fruits and vegetables, should take up at least half of your plate, and for foods bearing labels - choose those that have short, recognizable ingredients lists. When it comes to healthy eating...we all speak the same language.
Video: 9 ways to make the Mediterranean diet work for you
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