Advertising
Advertising

8 Rules We Can Learn From the Greek Diet and Lifestyle

8 Rules We Can Learn From the Greek Diet and Lifestyle

The Greeks have given the world many gifts, ranging from politics to science as well as architecture. The Greeks have been drivers of so many important fields that are still so relevant today. While all of those things are wonderful in their own respect, let’s put Aristotle aside for a second and discuss Greek food.

Greek food belongs to the now-popular Mediterranean diet. The Greek diet emphasizes nutrition and lifestyle changes, such as engaging in physical activity, eating meals in social situations, and eating a wide range of foods. Many have studied the effects of a Mediterranean diet, leading the United States Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to endorse it in their 2015 Scientific Report.

Advertising

Since the Greek diet exemplifies many different aspects of the Mediterranean diet, it got me thinking about the 8 things that we can learn and appreciate from the Grecian lifestyle and diet.

1. Eat meals in social settings and gatherings

There was a reason that My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mamma Mia became such cultural sensations. Who could resist the Greek approach to food in these movies? Though I have only been to Greece once, what I most remember from my time there is how social their meals really were. Wandering through small towns, it was so common to see large groups of people coming together to enjoy their meals each and every day.

Advertising

2. Enjoy red wine (in moderation!)

The Greeks are really onto something here. Red wine is rich with phytonutrients, which support a range of cardiovascular and cognitive benefits. Several studies have shown that moderate consumption has beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. If you are already enjoying wine in your diet, know that a small glass a few times a week is doing good things for your overall health.

3. Eat a variety of foods

Try to eat the rainbow of fruits and vegetables! The Greek diet also emphasizes protein from fish, eggs, and poultry as well as legumes. For carbohydrates, choose whole grain options like bulgur, quinoa, and barley. Get your healthy fats from olive oil, nuts and seeds. Switching to these foods have been shown to have significant health effects.

Advertising

4. Get your probiotics

Don’t forget about the gut-promoting probiotics that is found in yogurt and cultured vegetables. Additionally, making the switch to Greek yogurt will not only ensure you get your probiotics, but also guarantee that you get an extra boost of protein in your diet.

5. Embrace healthy fats

Healthy fats help you look your best by promoting healthy hair, skin, and nail. Additionally, healthy fats support heart health. A recent study showed that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts significantly reduced the risk of combined heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease in people at risk for heart health problems by about 30%.

Advertising

6. Slow down and appreciate your meals

We are all on the go these days, and it directly impacts how we eat. We scarf down breakfast on our morning commute, eat lunch at our computers, and then collapse on the couch to eat dinner in front of the TV. I totally struggle to take a break from my computer and enjoy my lunch at work. However, this is so important. Paying attention to what you eat will help keep you from mindfully noshing on that bag of potato chips.

7. Engage in moderate physical activity

A morning run or evening walk are common place in Greece and in the Mediterranean in general. I mean, Greece was the birthplace of the Olympics after all! It isn’t too difficult for people in this region to reach the 150 minutes of recommended physical activity. While 150 minutes of cardio or resistance training per week may seem overwhelming at first, it breaks down to 30 minutes five times per week. Does 30 minutes seem like to much of a commitment? No worries. A variety of studies have shown that even 5 or 10 minutes have positive effects on health and cardiovascular risk.

8. Have a healthy relationship with food

It seems like everywhere you turn, there are negative discussions about food, leading to fear and anxiety being associated with food. It doesn’t help that fad diets distract us from fully developing a healthy relationship with food, but that is what’s so great with a Greek approach to food. A Mediterranean diet isn’t just another fad diet that forbids various food groups or encourages consumption of specific foods. Gluten-free or acai berry diets, anyone? Rather, the Mediterranean diet is holistic lifestyle that encourages a healthy relationship with food.

In this case, it really is “all Greek to me” is the way to go. Embrace the Greek approach to food and you will be on your way to a more healthful life.

More by this author

5 Things That Will Happen When You Eat Oatmeal This Is What Will Happen When You Eat Avocados Every Day Calorie Confusion: How Much Is Needed During Pregnancy? Go with Your Gut: The Science Behind Your Gut Bacteria Red Meat for Health: A Recent WHO/IARC Ruling

Trending in Food and Drink

1 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go 2 Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brain Health And Brain Power 3 15 Brain Foods You Should Be Eating Regularly to Keep Your Mind Sharp 4 These 25 Healthy Meal Ideas Can Be Ready in 30 Minutes or Less 5 17 Weight Loss Recipes That Are Incredibly Nutritious and Super Delicious

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

Advertising

2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

Advertising

Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

ablab

    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

    Advertising

    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

    Advertising

    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next