When we talk about the “Mediterranean Lifestyle,” we are referencing a brain-healthy diet. It emphasizes fresh, plant-based foods prepared simply.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “People who follow the Mediterranean diet have a longer life expectancy and lower rates of chronic diseases than do other adults. Indeed, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans point to the Mediterranean diet as an example of a healthy-eating plan.” (www.mayoclinic.org)
In fact, the National Institutes of Health now believe that following a Mediterranean Lifestyle diet can add up to 3.5 years against progression of dementia disease. For more information, check here (https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/mediterranean-diet-may-slow-development-alzheimers-disease)
Chef Kim Baretta, volunteer Chef-in-Residence for Memory Matters, recommends loading up on fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts when shopping.
Instead of butter, use olive oil on your whole grain bread or vegetables. Baking or sautéing should be with olive oil, if possible. Season foods with fresh herbs, dried spices, fresh garlic, or citrus juice, using salt sparingly.
Good protein sources are fish/seafood (at least twice a week), nuts, whole grains, legumes/beans, and tofu. According to the Mayo Clinic, red meat should be limited to no more than twice a month.
Chef Kim says plates should follow a 70:30 rule: Vegetables and whole grains occupy 70% of the plate; proteins cover 30%. “The hardest adjustments for Americans to make to adopt Mediterranean-style eating are changing protein sources and portion sizes as well as eating more vegetables,” says Chef Kim. “But it’s really not that hard to do. Just think ‘color, flavor and texture,’ and the veggies and proteins take care of themselves.
”What actually is the Mediterranean diet – and does it work?
The Mediterranean diet, and its plentiful olive oil use, is not a weight-loss regime, more a way of life, and is classed by Unesco as such. Photograph: Alamy
The Guardian article (Nov. 28, 2017) details why this lifestyle works for so many.