Longevity and The Mediterranean Diet

Longevity and The Mediterranean Diet

Six Reasons Why the Mediterranean Diet Contributes to a Longer, Healthier Life

Over the course of many generations, observers have been able to discern that the people who populate the region around the Mediterranean Sea live longer lives than do men and women in some other parts of the world. Historically, the reason most often attributed to the longevity of the people of the Mediterranean region was climate. However, as researchers became more adept and as scientific methods became more sophisticated, it became clear that while the weather patterns of the Mediterranean area generally were pleasant and inviting, it was the diet of the people in the region that accounted for their longer lives.

There are a number of specific factors related to the Mediterranean diet that nutritionists and medical experts believe contribute to longevity. The more important of these elements are discussed within the confines of this article for your information and guidance.

1. Restorative Effects of the Mediterranean Diet

Many of the specific food items that are part of a Mediterranean diet regimen are high in anti-oxidants. Scientifically speaking, anti-oxidants are important compounds found in certain foods and beverages that work to neutralize the destructive nature of oxidants or free radicals that are found in the human body. Oxidants or free radicals are produced when the body burns oxygen to produce energy. In other words, oxidants really can be considered waste that pollutes the human body.

Over time, the accumulation of oxidants in the body accelerates the aging process. Cells wear and lose their elasticity. Organs end up functioning less efficiently and effectively. Indeed, recent scientific research has demonstrated that oxidants clog arteries raising the threat of stroke. Oxidants are found to contribute to cancer, heart disease and diabetes — the major diseases most responsible for causing people to have premature deaths.

The types of fruits and vegetables that form the foundation of the Mediterranean diet — including richly colored and leafy green vegetables — which are high in anti-oxidants, have a restorative and life prolonging effect on the typical human body.

2. Reducing Cancer Risks

In most parts of the world, cancer of various types is the leading cause of premature death. Studies undertaken by researchers in Europe, Japan and the United States in the past thirty years have demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet effectively reduces the risks of certain types of cancers.

A diet that is high in fresh fruits and vegetables has been shown to be effective in reducing the risks of a wide array of different types of cancers. As has been noted previously, the Mediterranean diet includes the generous consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Mediterranean diet includes very little animal fat. There is a direct link between the consumption of animal fat and colorectal cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease that oftentimes takes the lives of people in their forties and fifties.

Olive oil (truly the foundation of the Mediterranean diet) had been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

By reducing the risks poised by cancer, the lifespan of men and women has been shown to increase appreciably in studies that have followed groups of people over time.

3. Reducing Coronary Heart Disease Risks

Coronary heart disease is one of the top three causes of premature death throughout the world — except in the Mediterranean region. Researchers have concluded that diet has played a large and important role in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease amongst the people who populate the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

An important study in seven countries (Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Finland, United States, Netherlands and Japan) demonstrated that those people who followed a Mediterranean diet regimen were less likely to have coronary heart disease and were less likely to have their lives cut short because of serious and ultimately fatal heart conditions.

4. Reducing Hypertension

On some level, the jury is still out on the direct effects between diet and hypertension or high blood pressure. With that said, it clearly has been demonstrated that hypertension and high blood pressure is responsible for premature deaths the world over. In addition, there is strong evidence to suggest that eliminating certain items from a diet — like processed salts — can work to reduce the risk of hypertension.

Additionally, there is evidence to support the proposition that a diet high in fiber and low in animal fats (like that of the Mediterranean region) works to reduce the threat of hypertension and premature death from this disease.

5. Diabetes Prevention and Control

The Mediterranean diet is well suited to staving off the serious effects of diabetes. The incidence of premature death because of diabetes is lower in those regions in which the Mediterranean diet is practiced. Because diabetes is a disease that can be controlled through diet, electing to utilize the Mediterranean regimen can work to add literally years to a person’s life.

6. The Cumulative Effect of the Mediterranean Diet

It is important to note that the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet appear to be cumulative over time. In the other words, the longer a person practices the dining habits of the Mediterranean plan, more of inherent physical benefits of this healthy eating regimen will be ingrained into a person’s makeup. Simply put, the benefits of a Mediterranean diet literally are stored up over time, increasing a person’s lifespan and adding to his or her overall health and well being not only now but well into the future.

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10 Utterly Delicious Recipes Perfect For Healthy Eating All Ready In Less Than 30 minutes…

10 Utterly Delicious Recipes Perfect For Healthy Eating All Ready In Less Than 30 minutes…

Healthy eating is what we want these days. Gone are the days when people would stuff themselves with gallons of fat and junk food, but if you are still one of them who believe that junk food is the only way of sustaining your health, then my advice: it is never too late! What you eat matters a lot in your appearance and look and  most importantly, your health and well-being. Take a moment and think a while. Right diet and healthy eating is what your body is asking of you.. And believe me, these recipes will surely make you think twice if you thought that junk food always tastes better.

I got these recipes from my friend, Sarah, and she promised to share these with me if I in turn share with all of you. I promised her  that I would do so and here they are. 

 

Chickpea and Carrot Couscous with Minted Yogurt

Serves 4. Ready in 15 minutes

  1. In a small bowl, mix together 200g tub light Greek style yogurt, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh mint leaves, season and set aside.
  2. Chop 5 carrots and steam the pieces over boiling water for 3 – 5 minutes, until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, place 400g couscous in a bowl and pour over 425ml boiling water. Cover and let it stand for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff up the grains then add 410g can drained chickpeas and the steamed carrots.
  4. Toast 2 tsp cumin seeds in a hot pan for 2 – 3 mins until starting to pop. Cool and crush.
  5. Whisk the zest of half a lemon, 4 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp olive oil in a bowl. Add the couscous and cumin and serve with the minted yogurt.

Per Serving: 435kcals, 9.5g fat (0.8g saturated), 16.3g protein, 76.6g carbs, 9.9g sugar, 0.5g salt.

 

Tuna, Fennel and White Bean Salad

Serves 4. Ready in 15 minutes.

  1. Trim the base off 1 small head of fennel and save the fronds to garnish. Then slice the head across as thinly as you can. Slice half a red onion in the same way.
  2. Put the fennel and onion into a large bowl with 2 x 410g cans drained and rinsed cannellini beans, 2 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 20g chopped fresh parsley and some seasoning to taste. Stir together well and leave for 5 mins for the fennel to soften slightly.
  3. Drain 2 x 200g tins tuna steak in spring water, gently stir into the bean and fennel salad. Spoon the salad into the center of 4 plates and scatter with 60g black olives. Garnish with the fennel fronds.

Per Serving: 355kcals, 9.4g fat (1.3g saturated), 38.9g protein, 30.7g carbs, 7.5 sugar, 2.2g salt.

 

Salmon and Ginger Fishcakes with Sweet and Sour Salad

Serves 4. Ready in 30 minutes.

  1. Put 1 medium – hot deseeded finely chopped red chilli, 2 tsp caster sugar, 1 tsp Thai fish sauce, 1 tbsp lime juice and 1 tbsp rice vinegar into a screw jar and shake. Cut half a cucumber in half long ways, then cut into long thin strips. Toss with 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into thin strips, 1 small carrot cut into thin strips and 12 halved cherry tomatoes.
  2. Chop 500g skinned salmon until you have a course mince like texture. Put into another bowl with a 4cm piece steam ginger, very finely chopped and 4 finely chopped spring onions. Mix together and shape into 8 fishcakes.
  3. Heat 1 tsp sunflower oil in a large non stick pan over a medium heat, cook the fishcakes for 2 mins each side until lightly golden.
  4. Toss the dressing and the leaves from a fresh bunch of coriander through the salad and divide onto 4 plates, top each with 2 fishcakes.

Per Serving 281kcals, 14.9g fat (2.6 saturated), 26.8g protein, 9.9g carbs, 8.8g sugar, 0.4g salt.

 

Fast Asian Fish

Serves 4. Ready in 20 minutes.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cook 225g long grain rice. Drain. Return to pan cover and leave.
  2. Meanwhile, place 4 x 120g skinless salmon fillets in a shallow baking dish. Combine 3 tbsp reduced – salt soy sauce, 2cm piece fresh ginger, finely shredded, and 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, then pour over the fish. Cover the dish with foil then bake for 15 mins carefully turning the fish halfway through.
  3. Divide the rice into 4 plates and top each one with a salmon fillet, drizzle the sauce and top with 4 finely chopped spring onions.

Per Serving 453kcals, 13.5g fat (2.3g saturated), 29g protein, 53.3g carbs, 8g sugar, 1.7g salt.

 

Poached Egg and New Potato Salad with Crispy Bacon and a Mustard Dressing

Serves 4. Ready in 25 minutes.

  1. Boil 450g scrubbed new potatoes in a pan of lightly salted water until just tender. Drain and cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan. Add 2 rashers of rindless dry cured, smoked back bacon, cut into short strips and drain on kitchen paper, keep warm.
  3. Bring some water to a light simmer in a pan and add a little vinegar. Stir the water then break the egg into the center of the water and poach for 3 mins, lift out, drain and keep warm, repeat this 3 times.
  4. To make the dressing whisk 2 tsp dijion mustard and 1tbsp white wine vinegar together, slowly whisk in 3 tbsp olive oil then season.
  5. Cut the potatoes into ¼, put in a bowl and stir in 2 tbsp of dressing. Arrange the potatoes and 75g bag water cress on 4 plates, top with an egg, drizzle a little dressing and scatter with bacon to serve.

Per Serving 255kcals, 16.1g fat (3.4g saturated),10.5g protein, 18.5 g carbs, 1.8g sugar, 1.4g salt.

 

Tzatziki Turkey Burgers

Serves 4. Ready in 30 minutes.

  1. Thinly slice ¼ of a large red onion and mix with 12 halved cherry tomatoes and half a handful chopped fresh coriander. Season and set aside.
  2. Coarsely grate the remaining onion and mix well with 450g of turkey mince, 2 tbsp sweet chilli dipping sauce, 1 tbsp soy sauce, the remaining coriander and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Form into 4 burgers that are slightly larger than the bases of 4 crusty rolls. Preheat the grill to hot. Arrange the burgers on a foil lined grill pan and grill for 6 mins each side.
  4. Meanwhile, make the tzatziki. Take ¼ cucumber and ½ length ways, scoop out the seeds and discard. Dice into small pieces and mix with 150g carton of 0 percent fat Greek yogurt, small handful chopped fresh mint and a few dashes of Tabasco.
  5. Grill the rolls until lightly toasted and arrange a burger on each base, top with a spoonful of tzatziki, tomato salad and then roll tops.

Per Serving323kcal’s, 2.3g fat (0.4g saturated), 37.7g protein, 39.8 carbs, 8.5g sugar, 1.8g salt.

 

Haddock With Watercress And Radish Salad

Serves 4. Ready in 20 minutes.

  1. Juice 3 limes then mix together 2 tbsp of the lime juice in a shallow dish with 1 tsp of smoked paprika. Add 4 x 175g haddock fillets with skin, coat evenly and set aside for 5 mins.
  2. Place a large frying pan over a medium high heat, when hot add the fish skin side down. Cook 2 – 4 mins each side until just cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the remaining lime juice with 2tsp Dijon mustard, then season. Add 2 x 85g bags watercress and 8 trimmed and sliced radishes, then toss to lightly coat in the dressing.
  4. Divide the salad between 4 plates then top with a fish fillet. Garnish with lime wedges.

Per Serving 161kcals, 1.9g fat (0.4 saturated), 35.1g protein, 1.4g carbs, 0.9g sugar, 0.5g salt.

 

Tomato And Basil Soup With Tortellini

Serves 4. Ready in 25 minutes.

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large, deep saucepan over a medium heat. Add 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves and cook for about 1 minute. Add 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes, 500ml hot vegetable (or chicken) stock and 250ml water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 mins until the mixture is the consistency of a chunky soup. Season to taste.
  2. Mean while, cook 225g fresh cheese tortellini, divide between 4 bowls, ladle the soup on top and scatter roughly chopped basil leaves.

Per Serving 246kcals, 8.4g fat, (3.2g saturated), 10.9g protein, 32.1 g carbs, 6.2g sugar, 1.1g salt.  

 

Lamb Cutlets With Fattoush

Serves 4. Ready in 25 minutes.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C /gas 4. Mix together ½ tsp olive oil, 1tsp ground cumin and 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 tbsp lemon juice. Add 8 trimmed lamb cutlets, coat in the marinade and set aside.
  2. Bake 2 small pitta breads roughly torn on a baking tray until golden and crispy.
  3. Heat a frying pan over a high heat, add the lamb and cook 2 mins each side so that it is still pink in the middle then set aside to rest.
  4. Place 250g  quartered cherry tomatoes, ½ a cucumber – cubed, a handful of fresh flat leaf parsley and the pitta in a large bowl. `Dress with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1tbsp lemon juice. Divide into 4 bowls and top with 2 cutlets in each.

Per Serving 326kcals, 15.2g fat (5.1g saturated), 29.3g protein, 19.6g carbs, 3.8g sugar, 0.6g salt.

 

Rhubarb, Stem Ginger And Cinnamon Fool

Serves 4. Ready in 20 minutes,plus cooling and chilling.

  1. Put 650g rhubarb, cut into small pieces, 1 ball stem ginger, chopped (from a jar in syrup), the juice of one lemon, 1 cinnamon stick and a good splash of water in a pan. Place over a high heat. When bubbling, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 mins until just tender. Sweeten to taste with some of the syrup out of the ginger jar. Put into a bowl and leave to cool. Throw away the cinnamon stick.
  2. Mix a large pinch of ground cinnamon into 250g very low fat natural yogurt. Layer 4 x 250ml glasses alternately with the rhubarb and the yogurt, finishing with a layer of yogurt. Chill for 30 mins. Top each with a pinch of ground cinnamon and serve.

Per Serving. 45Kcals, 0.2g fat (0 saturated), 4.9g protein, 62g carbs, 6.1g sugar, 0.1g salt.