Mediterranean Meno Menu: 5 ways to follow a Mediterranean-style diet
The simplest step you can take to live a healthy life is by eating a balanced diet and the time-honoured Mediterranean diet has been proven to be the best way of achieving this.
Studies show that a Mediterranean diet lowers cholesterol, reduces inflammation, depression, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and asthma, and also helps you to reduce weight, and that’s not all!
Linked with longevity and proven to be one of the best ways to boost your natural intake of omega-fatty acids, the Mediterranean diet is associated with a raft of benefits, from reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, to boosting memory, and mood. That certainly ticks a few boxes for a woman in her menopausal years.
The landmark Mediterranean diet human clinical trial (PREDIMED), confirmed that when supplementing a Mediterranean diet with nuts (ideally walnuts), the risk of heart disease may be cut by 30% and stroke by 49% compared to a low-fat diet. As the chance of heart disease rises in our post-menopausal years, that’s a pretty good incentive.
Another study published in JAMA: Internal Medicine reported that breast cancer risk was significantly reduced in post-menopausal women in Spain who followed Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil.
So savour the flavour - we give you 5 ways to adopt and reap the health benefits of the Mediterranean-style diet.
Up the olive oil
Unsaturated fats are the main type of fat used in the Mediterranean, most famously olive oil. Switch butter, coconut oil and ghee for unsaturated oils from plants and seeds such as linseed and virgin olive oil. Both are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which may improve the ‘good’ type of cholesterol known as HDL. According to a 2017 study in Circulation (a journal that presents research relevant to cardiovascular disease), a traditional Mediterranean diet, especially when enriched with virgin olive oil, improved HDL, and takes ‘bad’ LDL particles out of arteries.
Eat more fish
It’s the go-to protein in the Mediterranean-style diet. In particular oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring, or SMASH to us. These fish are packed full of heart and brain healthy, omega-3 fatty acids. Even less oily fish such as cod, or haddock are still worth eating, as they still provide a good source of protein. Checkout our SMASH’ing diet recipes.
Viva the veggies
The main ingredient to the Mediterranean diet is to incorporate more plant-based foods, including nuts, legumes (beans and peas), fresh fruit and veg. The more colourful the better. Try to include veggies at every meal. The easy way to do this is to include veggies in a snack, such as crunching on a red bell pepper (high in vitamin C). Five portions a day is advised, perhaps throwing a handful of spinach into a breakfast smoothie, veggie soup, or salad at lunch, and rainbow colours in the evening.
No gain without wholegrain
We identify a Mediterranean meal with pasta and bread, start swapping your refined carbs that are no longer your friend, to whole grains. Grains that are still ‘whole’ in their form and haven’t been refined. Wholemeal breads, pastas, brown rice, quinoa, oats and even popcorn is a wholegrain (make sure it’s not drizzled in butter, or sugar!) Also include seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, pomegranate and pine nuts, sprinkled on salads, soups and cereal.
Nutty about nuts
Nuts are another staple in the Mediterranean diet. A study published in ‘Nutritional Journal’ found that replacing standard snacks such as crisps, cereal bars or cookies, with almonds, participant’s diets were lowered in empty calories, added, sugar and salt. Nuts also contain more fibre and minerals, such as potassium, than processed snack foods. Grab a handful of any nut, whether it’s almonds, cashews, pistachios, or walnuts which are also high in omega-3, makes a healthier, on-the-go snack.
Why not get into that sunny, summer spirit by trying our Mediterranean Meno Menu. You might also like to checkout our post on the Longevity Diet.