Guest Author - Alice Rienzo
Ever wonder why European women are healthier and live longer than most other women around the world? The secret to longevity could be their lifestyle.
Americans live out of their cars and on-the-go. Fast food, takeout, and microwavable meals are just some of the modern day conveniences readily available for over-scheduled families to grab. But within these meals-in-minutes are a multitude of chemicals used to mass produce the company's products.
Healthy is not necessarily a concern for giant corporations who are concerned about their bottom line. Producing food as quickly and as cheaply as possible to increase profits is their main objective. Cancer is on the rise, and it's no coincidence that its rise correlates with the rise in convenience foods. There's no doubt that the profit margin in the cancer treatment industry, and others like it, is vast and wide. They certainly aren't going to encourage change.
So what can we do?
According to a 2014 report from the World Health Organization, European women live longer than most other women around the world, outpaced only by Japanese women. To avoid cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and the like, we need to change our lifestyles to mirror those who already have the 411 on living long, healthy lives..
Europeans, specifically the populations living in and around the Mediterranean Sea, enjoy an abundance of sunshine. Don't hunker down inside! Slather on the sunscreen and embrace the sunshine. While you can get small amounts of Vitamin D from foods, Mr. Sun is the number 1 choice for getting your daily dose of D's. Just 20 minutes per day can produce up to 25,000 IUs. That's 5x the recommended minimum amount. Of noteworthy importance is that higher SPFs are thought to interfere with Vitamin D absorption. Moderation is the key.
You've heard the benefits of eating fish, specifically tuna and salmon. They are a rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and have proven to be vital for normal body functions including building cell membranes in the brain and regulating cholesterol triglyceride levels. The human body is unable to make its own Omega-3 fatty acids, so it's something that you must consume, either in the form of food or supplements.
Mediterranean dishes are comprised of a multitude of fruits and vegetables, which contain antioxidants that may help to prevent some types of cancers. Snacking on nuts is a great alternative to popping open a bag of chips. Brazil nuts and walnuts are high in selenium and are thought to be anti-cancer agents.
Herbs, spices, Virgin and Extra Virgin olive oils are all staples in the everyday Mediterranean lifestyle. Great flavor and healthy fats make any dish a delight.
Round out the day sipping on a glass of red wine, which contains flavonoids and a powerful polyphenol called Resveratrol. Resveratrol reduces the bad LDL cholesterol and is heart healthy in moderation.
Overall, the main theme is to slow down the pace of your day. Take time to create meals that are visually appealing, aromatic, and awaken your taste buds. Socialize with family members and friends. Talk, laugh, eat, drink and be merry. You'll be happier, healthier, and more centered.
Which components of the Mediterranean Diet and lifestyle do you incorporate into your daily routine? Check out the discussion in the forum.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the articles I write are intended to increase your knowledge about the subject. Itís always a good idea to check with your personal doctor before changing your diet or beginning a new fitness program.