In my last blog I outlined the evidence pointing toward a Mediterranean diet for health and longevity. However we are yet to discuss what foods it mainly consists of.
While every study is slightly different in how they “score” a Mediterranean diet, the common themes are: plenty of fruits and vegetables along with eggs, fish and meats (with red meats making up less than a quarter of your weekly meat consumption); a good amount of whole grains, nuts and legumes, and regular consumption of olive oil so that in general you are consuming more monounsaturated fats than saturated fats.
Good “old-fashioned’ eating really with an absence of overly processed foods.
And for you wine lovers out there, you might be please to know that a moderate consumption of red wine (you have to limit yourself to a glass a day though!) is also part of this way of eating.
While eating the Mediterranean way is showing great promise as a cardioprotective diet along with improving our chances of living longer, some researchers have broken down this diet further so that we can see what are the “active ingredients”.
Regular fish consumption alone appears to reduce your risk of heart disease by around 20-30%, while consuming nuts at least 3 times per week has been shown to reduce your total risk of death by 39%.
Greater than 3 serves of vegetables tends to reduce your overall risk of death on average by about 20%, but interestingly greater consumption of fruit INCREASED your risk.
Not a good sign for those of us who say we get plenty of fruits and vegetables, but in reality it is more fruit and less veg!
Regular consumption of legumes also shows promise but the evidence around consumption of grains/cereals, dairy and meat tend to neither reduce or increase your risk substantially.
There you have it, the current evidence as it stands.
It appears that fish, nuts and plenty of vegetables comes up trumps when we eat for health and longevity. It also shows that we shouldn’t be afraid of the “good oils!”
Stay tuned over the coming weeks as I work through iNform’s FESS model (Food, Exercise, Stress, Sleep) for health and longevity. If you want more information about this, along with other ways we can keep you accountable to your health please register for our upcoming seminar at: www.informhealth.com/events/fess-up