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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 September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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