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Benefits of Mediterranean Wellness & Diet

What is Mediterranean Wellness & Diet?

We love to talk about mediterranean holiday, the sun, mediterranean sea and delicious food.  However, few talk about mediterranean wellness, which contributed to the good health, and longevity for the mediterranean people.  So when we talk about wellness, we have to look into the holistic approach from food, physical well-being, mental and emotional wellness.

We believe it is a journey, not a destination. 

Mediterranean diet

"One should eat to live and not live to eat" - Socrates (470-399 BC), a well known Greek philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy.  Therefore when we talk about mediterranean wellness, we have to look at the food and diet of the mediterranean people.  Many research and studies concluded that mediterranean diet is the key to the good health and longevity of the mediterranean people.  Therefore it has been known to be the healthiest diet in the world.  Many dietitian have recommended Mediterranean diet for people of all ages.  In a typical mediterranean diet, we are talking about eating a good balance meal using fresh ingredients, less processed food.  Mediterranean diet has also been recognised by the World Health Organization as a healthy and sustainable dietary pattern and as an intangible cultural asset by the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

A typical Mediterranean diet includes large quantities of vegetables, fresh fruits, fish beans, cereals and cereal products, for example wholegrain bread, pasta and brown rice.  It also contains moderate amounts white meat and some dairy.  Lots of extra virgin olive oil (which is a monounsaturated fat), yoghurts, nuts, legumes, herbs, honey and small quantity of red wine.  Therefore it is know that mediterranean diet contributes to low heart disease, or lower rate of chronic disease and have a long life expectancy in the world.  Some research has shown that the diet can help to reduce the development of type 2 diabetes. 

Therefore, we believe an overall diet approach and the combination of foods rather than individual ‘superfoods’, make such diet a more healthy diet and beneficial to our overall wellbeing in long run. 

How to get started?

It is never too late, nor too difficult to start. 

1. Focus on plant-based food, nuts, legumes

First, you can start by introducing more plant-based food, such as more fruits and vegetables and whole grains legumes and nuts into your diet.  Fruits and vegetables give you all the nutrients and are high in fibre.  If you love to snack, why not start snacking with nuts such as almond, pistachio, walnuts, pecans etc for those healthy fats needed by our body.  Make it a habit that you get a good portion of vegetables, fruits in your everyday meal. 

2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) for healthy fats

Start replacing your butter with extra virgin olive oil, or also commonly known as EVOO, which is monounsaturated fat, that helps reduce bad cholesterol in our blood which indirectly lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.  Sprinkle or dip your toast with good portion of extra virgin olive oil is totally guilt-free.  To create a more aromatic flavour, you may want to add some herbs with the extra virgin olive oil. 

3. Herbs & spices, honey, yoghurt

When flavouring food, you can start using herbs and spices instead of salt.  Herbs and spices are known to help anti-inflammation which reduces the damage to our body cells.  And most herbs and spices contain good vitamins, minerals that our body needs.  Not forgetting, herbs and spices can enhance the flavour and aroma or even act as colouring.  Reduce your caffeine intake by replace herbal teas to boost immune system especially to fight common cold and flu.  Everything is from the nature, no artificial flavours and colours.  Honey will be a good replacement of white sugar if you have a sweet tooth and still gives you all the good minerals needed by our body.  Intake of yoghurt and cheese provides a good source of protein, probiotics and other minerals that are good for our intestines and guts that can help to increase our digestive systems and build a stronger immune systems.  

4. More fish & seafood, moderate poultry, less red meat

Start by reducing red meat to only few times a month and replace them with more fish to at least twice a week.  Go for moderation of poultry and less in red meat in general. 

5. Share your meal with family and friends

One big part of the mediterranean diet and culture is to have meals with family and friends and consume moderate amount of wine is also recommended. Sharing a meal together creates the bond and can have a profound effect on your mood and mental health and help you foster a deep appreciation for the pleasures of eating healthy and delicious foods. 

6. Exercise - don't forget!

Let us embark this journey of healthy living habits by take whole food, less process food, stay healthy mentally and physically.  And don't forget to exercise, as what Hippocrates (Father of Western Medicine, 460-377BC) said "Walking is man's best medicine". 

Other reading articles : GreekFoodNews

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