Imagine the rich blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The sun is in your face and the sound of gentle waves provide deep relax as you sit on the beach. It’s a very comforting idea, a Mediterranean paradise.
Did you know that it can be good for your health. Not just going to the Mediterranean for a vacation, but learning to eat the way people from the Mediterranean region eat. The Mediterranean Diet has been shown to be extremely beneficial in preventing heart disease.
It has also been shown to be particularly beneficial for women. The Nurses Health Study looked at 74,886 women from the ages of 38-63 who reported consumption of a higher than normal of foods that are part of the Mediterranean Diet: vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish, and alcohol. The ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fats was also included. Red meat and processed meat consumption below the median was also included in the diet score.
The women were followed for 20 years. Amazingly, those women who followed a Mediterranean Diet had a significantly reduced amount of heart disease and strokes.
So what keeps most American’s from adopting such a diet? What keeps women from Going Mediterranean?
A few months ago, I had a couple in my cardiology office. They were both middle-aged and the husband and wife both had heart disease. I had been seeing them for 18months following their heart disease. I asked them about their diet. Specifically, I inquired if they were following the Mediterranean Diet that I had given them. I had outlined for them previously the beneficial effects and why they should follow this diet.
Like many people from the Mid-West they had a strong attachment to the traditional red meat and potatoes (two foods not on the diet). I asked them the question I posed above- “What was keeping them from adopting the Mediterranean way of eating?”
Jill moderately over weight woman with curly hair said, “It’s hard to break old habits. We like the foods we eat. Bob doesn’t like fish or rice.”
So it was just habits and tastes that keep them from eating in a way that could keep them healthy. I did my best to try to relate this to them but they were a hard sell. Old habits die hard. It seems that people would rather die than give up a habit that doesn’t serve them. We are indeed creatures of habit.
What about you? Are you someone who holds onto eating habits that may be damaging your health. If you’re a woman and you want to reduce your chances of having heart disease you should consider adopting a Mediterranean Diet.
What are the components of such a diet?
1. Avoid red meat and markedly increase you consumption of fish. Eat the white meat of chicken if you don’t like fish. Add a fish oil supplement 1000 mg to 2000 mg a day.
2. Increase your consumption of nuts: walnuts, almonds, pecans, but all are good.
3. Eat at least 2 tablespoons of uncooked olive oil in your diet. This can be placed in oatmeal, yogurt, a smoothie, or on a salad.
4. Dramatically increase your vegetable and fruit consumption.
5. Avoid white bread- only eat whole grain breads.
6. increase your consumption of bean, peanuts, and other legumes.
Numerous medical studies have shown the benefits of following a Mediterranean Diet.
If you want to keep from having heart disease its time you consider a new way of eating. Think of blue water and sunny skies.
Break out of old habits and Go Mediterranean.