From Mind over Menopause, explaining that the Mediterranean diet is excellent for older women.
You hear a lot about the Mediterranean diet, and why it keeps us healthier as we get older. But what exactly is a Mediterranean diet, and why is it claimed to be so good for us?
WHAT IS A MEDITERRANEAN DIET?
Firstly any diet that’s low in calories and high in nutrients is healthier as we get older. It’s healthier at any age. Studies show that when people with coronary heart disease shift their diet toward more Mediterranean cuisine, it can reduce mortality rates.
So basically the Mediterranean diet, which has been around for thousands of years, offers a practical and easy strategy for a heart-healthy diet.
But there are different styles of Mediterranean cuisine, it can be crudely divided (roughly chopped) into three culinary regions – North African, Eastern Mediterranean, and Southern European.
The one commonly talked about is the Southern, where the flavours are crisp, clear and uncomplicated with no hot spices or rich cheesey sauces. No dollops of clotted cream either.
We all know we have to cut down on saturated fats and shifting the emphasis of our diet to a Mediterranean cuisine can achieve this.
If you put fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy on your menu while limiting red meat and sweets you’re heading in the right direction.
Vegetables play a large part in Mediterranean food. Onions, garlic, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers and various lettuces with olive oil and fresh herbs oregano, rosemary, basil, parsley, dill and all kinds of mint.
Seafood is used in moderation – various white-fleshed and oily fish, eel, squid, octopus, anchovies both fresh and cured, and all manner of shellfish.
Legumes are among some of the world’s oldest cultivated plants. Stone Age people collected ripe seeds from plants belonging to the “papilionaceae” family such as lupins and lucerne, and ate them with the game they hunted in the vast forests of Europe.
For centuries, beans and chickpeas rivaled bread in Spain as the most common foodstuff. They form the basis of many substantial dishes in countries around the Mediterranean.
Traditional Mediterranean meal
The main course in the traditional Mediterranean meal is plant-based, such as vegetables, pastas, grains or legumes, with an accompaniment of either fish or meat.
Breakfast : A traditional southern Mediterranean diet may include fresh fruit, whole-wheat toast, and a cup of yogurt for breakfast.
Lunch : Skinless chicken and mixed vegetables grilled with olive oil with crusty whole-grain bread for lunch.
Dinner : Fish, beans, vegetable stew, fresh fruit and a glass of red wine for dinner.
- Vegetables and fruits offer protection against the bone thinning disease osteoporosis.
- Vegetables and fruits are nutrient rich but calorie poor.
- Vegetables and fruits generally have a very high water content to keep you hydrated.
- Calories in vegetables and fruits generally come from carbohydrates, which are broken down to glucose in your body
- Glucose provides fuel for your muscles to work, it makes it much easier to incorporate more activity into your life, meaning you get more energy
Don’t forget to round out your Mediterranean lifestyle with a program of regular physical exercise.