Healthy food? We choose the Mediterranean way
According to a newly published study in the journal PLOS Medicine, changing what you eat can add up to 13 years to your life, especially if you start young. The study examined what could happen to a man's or woman's lifespan if they replaced a "typical Western diet" focused on red meat and processed foods with an "optimized diet" focused on eating less red and processed foods. meat and more fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
If a woman started eating optimally at age 20, she could extend her lifespan by just over 10 years, according to the study. A man who eats healthier from the age of 20 could add 13 years to his life. Focusing on a healthier diet may also extend the lives of older adults, the study said. By starting at age 60, a woman can extend her lifespan by another eight years. Men who start a healthier diet at age 60 can extend their lives for nearly nine years.
Which eating style for a healthy life?
For the fifth year in a row, the Mediterranean diet came first in the annual race for the best diet, according to U.S. News & World Report. Numerous studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression and breast cancer.
The diet, which is more of an eating style than a restricted diet, has also been linked to stronger bones, a healthier heart and longer life. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices; fish and seafood at least a few times a week; and poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation, while saving sweets and red meats for special occasions. Top it off with a splash of red wine (if you like), and don't forget to stay physically active and you're done.
Starting this week
Start by cooking one meal each week based on the Mediterranean diet. If one night a week is a cinch, add two. Also experiment with "ancient grains" that are an important feature of the Mediterranean diet. Quinoa, amaranth, millet, farro, spelt, kamut (a grain of wheat believed to have been discovered in an Egyptian tomb), and teff (an Ethiopian grain the size of a poppy seed) are some examples of ancient grains. If you eat meat, take small amounts. Better yet, use small pieces of chicken or slices of lean meat to flavor a vegetarian meal, such as a stir-fry. And think about dessert. Mediterranean cultures usually end meals with fruits that are in season. If you're tired of eating raw fresh fruit, get creative. Poach the pears in pomegranate juice with a little honey, let the sauce reduce and serve over Greek yogurt. Grill pineapple or other fruit and drizzle with honey. Make a sorbet from fruit, including avocado. Fill a fig or date with goat cheese and sprinkle a few nuts on top. The possibilities are endless.