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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 January 17, 2019

    8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

    8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

    In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

    Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

    Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

    Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

    Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

    The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

    There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

    How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

    According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

    Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

    Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

    The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

    Listen carefully:

    We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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    The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

    Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

    8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

    There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

    Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

    1. Pray Daily

    You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

    When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

    Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

    Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

    2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

    A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

    By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

    Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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    If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

    This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

    How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

    3. Smile Often

    Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

    Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

    Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

    The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

    4. Organize Your Working Desk

    A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

    When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

    Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

    Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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    5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

    I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

    Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

    What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

    6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

    God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

    I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

    I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

    7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

    You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

    How do you do that? This is my formula:

    First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

    If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

    If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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    If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

    Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

    8. Go Exercise

    Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

    The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

    You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

    12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

    The Bottom Line

    It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

    It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

    Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

    More Resources About Mindfulness

    Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

    Reference

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