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9 Reasons You Should Start Having A Mediterranean Diet Now (With Recipe!)

9 Reasons You Should Start Having A Mediterranean Diet Now (With Recipe!)

Why is obesity a major health problem in America and other developed countries? Bad diets and worse eating habits is the answer. In the Mediterranean countries, mortality is lower and people lead healthier lives. This is simply because the Mediterranean diet they are following uses foods and cooking methods that are simply much more wholesome.

This diet is mainly based on plant-based foods so that legumes (peas, lentils and beans), fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts are the basis of the diet. Protein is supplied by fish and white meat. Red meat is eaten only a few times a month. Lots of emphasis on fresh food while processed food, ready made meals, and junk food are avoided like the plague.

Here are 9 reasons you should start adopting this diet now.

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1. Heart health will improve

Fish oils, olive oil, and some seed oils are widely used in this diet. These unsaturated oils are beneficial for the heart. You can get up to 40% of calories from these fats because they are healthy. Normally, you should only get about 30% of your calories from fat.

2. Weight can be easily controlled

This diet limits animal or saturated fats because very little meat is consumed. Trans fats (in margarine and shortening) found in hydrogenated oil are also rarely present. Limited amount of dairy products such as milk, cheese, or yogurt are consumed. Keeping these fats down helps in weight loss. But you also need to combine this with exercise, smaller portions (except for vegetables) and a desire to stick to it for six months to get long lasting results. Keep to low fat dairy when you can.

3. Reduce your risk of diabetes

Because there is lots of fiber in the diet (from the grains, nuts and vegetables), this helps to slow down digestion and stop blood sugar levels from spiking. That certainly will help to reduce your risk of getting diabetes. Go for nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios instead of a sweet pastry.

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4. Lower your risk of a stroke

You can have a stroke when a blood vessel bursts on its way to your brain. The best way of keeping these vessels healthy is to have plenty of antioxidants which you can get from fruit and vegetables which are plentiful in the Med Diet. One study showed that men with higher levels of lycopene (contained in tomatoes and other red fruit and veggies) were 55% less likely to have a stroke. As you know, tomatoes are everywhere in the Mediterranean diet. Add them to salads, pasta sauces and any snack you fancy.

5. Halve your risk of getting Parkinson’s disease

People who suffer form Parkinson’s disease (PD) find that their movement and coordination are severely affected. Researchers set out to find a possible link between diet and PD. One Japanese study found that those who had a diet based on plant foods, legumes, seaweed, fruit, and fish had a 50% lower risk of suffering from this disease than those whose diet had few or none of these elements. This diet is very similar to the Med Diet.

6. Less salt helps lower your blood pressure

You always find less salt in Mediterranean dishes. This is because herbs and spices are used to flavor food. That is much healthier than adding so much salt. In Tuscany in Italy, all the bread is unsalted. This was originally not for health reasons at all, but because salt was heavily taxed in the 12th century. The Tuscans saved money and were healthier too!

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7. Cut your cholesterol

Olive oil is used in everything in the Med Diet. You can have a snack with olive oil poured on a piece of bread. That is much healthier than butter. Olive oil has lots of unsaturated fat and this helps to keep low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol down. Always go for virgin or extra virgin oil because this simply means that processing has been kept to a minimum. Add it almost everything you eat and you cannot go wrong.

8. Less risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Dr. Scarmeas of Columbia University has done some research on the connection between the Mediterranean Diet and Alzheimer’s disease. He and his researchers found that the diet played a role in helping to delay the onset of the disease. Always have fruit as a snack when you are hungry.

9. Reduce your cancer risks

Lots of studies have been done on the role of the Med Diet in helping to prevent cancer. One study showed that olive oil was instrumental in reducing breast cancer risk in women by 62%. Another study revealed that womb cancer in women was less prevalent in those who had followed this diet.

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One simple Med Diet recipe

meditteranean

    Here is a simple two step recipe for Mediterranean Potato Salad. This is a great way to substitute mayonnaise with much healthier red peppers, tomatoes, olives and some fresh herbs. All you have to do is to fry the vegetables in olive oil while you boil the potatoes. You can get the full list of ingredients and method here. Now, what could be simpler than that?

    Featured photo credit: Oldways Mediterranean Lunch/Meal Makeover Moms via flickr.com

    More by this author

    Robert Locke

    Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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    Last Updated on November 20, 2020

    Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

    Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

    Benjamin Franklin said it like this: “Early to bed, early to rise, will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” He knew from his own experiences and watching others that the ones who got up early were healthier and more successful. That’s why a morning workout can be so important.

    One 2017 study found that:[1]

    “after controlling for such factors as age, sex, smoking habits, and others…night owls, were found to have a 10 percent greater risk of dying from any cause compared to morning types.”

    This is a great reason to tap into some morning motivation and get your morning workout done.

    Circadian Rhythm for morning workout

      As you can see in the above graph, your blood pressure begins to rise between 6 and 7 in the morning[2]. That means this is a great time to get your body moving and your heart pumping, even if it’s just for 20 minutes of exercise in the morning. 

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      Here are some tips on how to find the motivation for a morning workout.

      1. Remember Your Why

      It starts with remembering why you want to get up for a morning workout. If you don’t set a goal and establish your reasons for accomplishing a health and fitness goal, then you definitely won’t get up early.

      Getting up early isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would do it, right? Your goal for your health and fitness must be so strong, and the WHY behind it must be so powerful, that nothing will stop you from accomplishing that goal.

      2. Go to Bed Early

      If you want to get up early for a morning workout, it’s going to be important to get to bed earlier. Falling asleep at midnight and trying to get up at six just won’t work in your favor.

      This will likely be very difficult for a few days while you adjust your sleeping habits. However, as you get into an exercise routine in the morning, this will naturally make it easier to fall asleep earlier and faster at night.

      3. Make a Commitment

      I sometimes tell my Facebook community of my plans to work out, and we all keep each other motivated by posting our runs, our workouts, etc. This is a way to develop accountability. By publicly announcing your intentions, you increase your chances of actually carrying out your plans.

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      Another way to do this is to find an accountability partner who has similar goals for morning workouts. You can check in with each other to make sure you’re sticking to your plans. If that doesn’t work, hire a personal trainer for a few weeks to get you started.  

      You can learn how to find a good accountability partner here.

      4. Find a Friend

      If you can find a friend that is motivated like you are, and you can hold each other accountable daily to working out, then you will accomplish your fitness goals. Many people prefer working out with friends to working out alone. Whether it’s a chat while hitting the treadmill at the gym, or having someone to spot you while weightlifting, working out with friends is sometimes just more enjoyable.

      Texting each other the night before with a simple statement is best. Don’t ask: “Are we still working out in the morning?” With this kind of question, if they were thinking about not working out, you just gave them an opt out.

      Make a statement instead: “Can’t wait to see you in the morning!” This implies that they will be there, and they will feel more obligated to show up.

      5. Treat Yourself

      We all have to treat ourselves every now and then. After a morning workout, plan to treat yourself with a colorful, healthy breakfast or a delicious morning smoothie. This will help you look forward to something and push through to the end of your workout.

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      You can learn more on rewards and punishments here.

      6. Change your Mindset

      Many people throw away the idea of a morning workout by simply saying, “I’m not a morning person.”  Instead of using this excuse, decide to try to become a morning person by shifting your mindset.

      When you look into the benefits of waking up early and getting some exercise in before your day starts, you’ll feel more positive about your life overall.

      7. Plan Your Day

      You know you’re going to be busy. Try time blocking to plan all the things you need to do on a given day, and make sure you add in your morning workout[3]. If you have a plan laid out, you’ll be more likely to follow it and get done everything on your list done.

      Time blocking

        8. Reflect on How You’ll Feel After

        Starting a morning workout is hard, but visualizing how you’ll feel after can help you find motivation. Think about the extra energy you’ll have and how proud you’ll feel knowing that you were already so productive. No matter what you do the rest of the day, at least you squeezed in your exercise!

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        For me, I live in an area where there are a lot of runners. When I am heading home in the evening or sitting out on the patio at one of my favorite restaurants, and I see the runners go by, it makes me feel so accomplished that I got mine in that morning and I can enjoy the evening.

        9. Lay out Your Workout Clothes

        Setting out your workout clothes the night before makes it impossible for you to start to run late because you couldn’t find something to wear. Tap into the determination you have before bed in order to convince your less-than-motivated morning self that you need to get up and get your morning workout in. When you wake up and see your outfit laid out next to you, it’ll push you to get up and get moving.

        10.  Set Multiple Alarms

        Many people miss their morning workout simply because they hit the snooze button so many times. In order to make this more difficult for yourself, set a series of alarms. That way, if you keep hitting snooze, you’ll have three or four alarms going off every ten minutes, which will be annoying enough to get you out of bed.

        Also, put one alarm at least a few feet from your bed so that you’re forced to get up to turn it off.

        Final Thoughts

        About three years ago I went from being the person that says I will never be an early riser to a person that loves to get the day started as soon as possible. Without the distractions that begin to come around 8 or 9 in the morning, you’ll find that you’re more productive and more likely to squeeze in that morning workout.

        Take some of the actions above and find the best morning workout routine to start your day and feel good.

        More Tips on Morning Exercises

        Featured photo credit: Tomasz Woźniak via unsplash.com

        Reference

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