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The Mediterranean Diet

Do you want to eat healthier, feel better, prevent disease, and slow down aging? Try the Mediterranean Diet

The term "Mediterranean Diet" was coined as part of the 7 Countries Study. It includes a wide range of dishes that characterize Italy, Greece and other countries. Israel is also a part of the Mediterranean, so this diet is familiar and known to Israelis, in addition to Jews who visit Israel, or those who have Israeli relatives.

The salient benefits of this diet are: Easy to implement – No need to buy exotic and expensive food from abroad.

Simple – You can find a wide variety of simple recipes that do not require many hours of preparation in the kitchen.

Prevent disease – There is ample scientific proof that the Mediterranean Diet is effective in preventing heart disease and diabetes, prolongs life expectancy and slows down the aging process.

Cheap – includes whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables which are usually inexpensive.

It is particularly important to pay attention and apply the following emphases to upgrade our daily diet in the most efficient and effective way:

Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables – especially those that grow in our area. Previous articles have reviewed the benefits of fruit and vegetables as a source of essential vitamins like vitamin C.  Eat plenty of whole grains Whole grains are extremely healthy and include dietary fiber, protein, antioxidants and even minerals and vitamins in much richer amounts than in “white", processed grains. The selection of whole grains is large and includes: whole wheat, spelt, rye, quinoa, oats and rice.

Eat more legumes – We have been blessed with a wide variety of legumes such as orange, yellow, green and black lentils. This is in addition to a variety of bean types such as white, red, black, mash and azuki. And of course, peas, soy beans and chickpeas.

Eat plenty of plant foods and reduce your intake of animal foods – there are countless options and recipes that you can enjoy that include whole grains or legumes. It is also recommended to combine them together, and of course add vegetables in the dish or on the side. The Mediterranean diet includes some animal products such as quality cheeses rich in fat, eggs, fish and chicken. Eat a little and moderately from these products. It is best to avoid red meat.

Rule of thumb: The ratio should be 80% plant food to 20% animal food.  Prefer healthy cold – pressed oils – like olive oil and avoid processed oils like soy and canola. Margarine that includes unhealthy trans-fat should be avoided.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day, about 1.5 liters a day. The reference is to water and not to coffee or tea. It is best to avoid or significantly reduce intake of sugary and carbonated drinks.

Exercise 3-5 times a week. Numerous studies have demonstrated the combined beneficial effect of exercise and nutrition in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing diseases such as cardiovascular disease. It is advisable to do at least 30 minutes at a time, but studies have shown that there is a cumulative effect and that 15 minutes of exercise each time is beneficial. You can also do it at home.

Minimize eating processed and industrialized food – In a separate article, we explained why this food is unhealthy and can cause a feeling of heaviness and fatigue.

Many medical organizations around the world and in Israel support the Mediterranean diet, such as the Ministry of Health and Ichilov Hospital. This is not a passing trend, guesswork or speculation, but an easy-to-implement diet which has many benefits that have been proven in numerous scientific studies. The 7 Countries Study and the China Study are key examples of such studies.

Link to the article in Hebrew.

Noa Roll is a certified naturopath (ND) and founder of The Aleph Factor.

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