Spain: Home of the Mediterranean Diet

29 June 2015 1 Comments Category: Active Lifestyle

Living in Spain means having the luxury of enjoying the Mediterranean diet, which according to the prestigious Mayo Clinic, helps reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. But what is it exactly? Keep reading to discover all you need to know about the Mediterranean diet and its benefits.

The Mediterranean Diet means much more than a healthy way to eat. In Spain, it´s considered to be a lifestyle and an intrinsic part of its culture and tradition. If you haven’t had the chance to read “Typical Spanish dishes you must try this summer”, we encourage you to do so.

 

So, what exactly is a Mediterranean diet?

A traditional Mediterranean diet consists of large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, unrefined cereals, fish, nuts, and a low consumption of meat and dairy products. Oh, and wine and plenty of olive oil, which alone have their own benefits.

 

So, why is it so healthy?

  • Being rich in fiber, the Mediterranean Diet prevents heart disease, strokes and blood sugar levels to fluctuate.
  • The nutrients found in this diet reduces the risk of muscle weakness, improves cholesterol levels and blood vessels, two of the main causes of Alzheimer´s disease.
  • The high levels of antioxidants found in the Mediterranean Diet also reduce the risk of Parkinson´s disease and it increases longevity.

One more interesting fact? When you follow a Mediterranean diet, there is a 20% reduced risk of death at any age.

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So, what should I eat?

One of the main benefits of living in Spain is that you won´t need to search far and beyond your local supermarket to find all the quality ingredients you need to lead a healthy Mediterranean diet and lifestyle.

Just follow the simple instructions below and you´ll be on your way:

  • Eat plant-based foods such as fresh veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts and whole grains.
  • Forget about the butter. Replace it with Spanish olive oil, something that was used to be considered currency which is why they still call it liquid gold.
  • There is no need to add too much salt or pre-mixed spices for extra taste. Use the wonderful and delicious Spanish fresh herbs instead.
  • Eat free-range chicken and plenty of fish at least twice a week.
  • Nutritionists and experts suggest limiting red meat from your diet to no more than 2 or 3 times a month.
  • Drink plenty of water and red wine in moderation.

The Mediterranean Diet also emphasizes the importance of exercising and enjoying meals with friends and family. Remember, it´s a way of life. If you haven’t had the chance to read our “Typical Spanish Dishes” or “Simple Tricks to Stay Fit with a Busy Schedule”, we encourage you to do so.

Have you already started your Mediterranean Diet? What are your favorite dishes?

Photo Credits: Moyan Brenn

 

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