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The Mediterranean Diet and Aging Well

Is the Mediterranean diet the healthiest eating plan on planet Earth? It’s quite possible this whole-foods philosophy in action can extend your life, reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and even mitigate the possibility of developing certain types of cancer. You may have read about it before, but now is the time to put into practice a diet that is as delicious as it is salubrious.

The Mediterranean diet includes foods typically eaten in the hot, dry regions around the Mediterranean Sea. The first thing most of us think of is olive oil. This is the land of olive trees, where the liquid gold is pressed, extracted, and enjoyed daily with every meal. Olive oil contains healthy fat and can replace butter or margarine. It’s excellent for sauteeing, roasting, dressing salads, and even on fruit.

The diet commonly includes lots of ripe, lusty and juicy summer fruits. Choose what is in season where you live and indulge all day long. Add a little honey, date sugar, or even spice to transform fruit into dessert.

We Americans are simply not eating enough vegetables. Maybe because of the sad, gray, tinned versions we were served as children, veggies seem more like a punishment. In the Mediterranean, vegetables are nature’s treasure. Put them at the center of every meal, even breakfast.

Nuts and legumes are essential in this way of life. Keep them at your desk, in your bag, in your car for easy access to healthy fuel instead of hitting the vending machine or the drive-through. And here’s happy news for those among us tired of trying to eat Paleo. You know what they love in the Mediterranean? Pasta! Look for the whole grain variety to satisfy your hunger. You can eat rice, popcorn, quinoa, and oatmeal and it isn’t a sin. These things are natural and good for you, in moderation.

Speaking of nothing in excess, the last and perhaps most popular component of this diet is wine. Every octogenarian Nona loves her daily glass of red, right? It’s all about taking food with wine, in good company, and never overdoing it. Eat and drink to live well.

These are the not-so-secret strategies that could lengthen and enrich your life. The Mediterranean diet is becoming known as the aging-well diet. Nutrition appears to be one of the strongest elements known to influence the rate of aging and the incidence of age-associated diseases. A study conducted in Edinburgh and published in the journal Neurology, found that people in their mid-70s who ate a Mediterranean-style diet lost less brain mass than people who ate a diet more typical of their native Scotland. A larger brain is more resistant to the effects of brain disease, which is a concern for many older persons. Worldwide, 44 million individuals are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.

Heart health is another concern for aging Americans. There is increasing evidence to support the theory that a Mediterranean diet mitigates risk factors for cardiovascular disease as well. Consider how much fat you are consuming, and what kind. Eat more fish, take more walks, and consume less red meat to eat like a person who lives well in the Mediterranean.

If you are ready to confront aging, to take control over the process through living well, to change what you eat, and love how you feel, contact Evolved Medical for a free consultation.

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