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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • October 2017
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The Mediterranean diet and health — Proven benefits in countless studies

We have all heard that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets. It is one of the world’s regional diets that seem to provide benefits to health and longevity. One of the key elements of the Mediterranean diet is the use of particular fats in the diets. Olive oil provides the omega-9 fatty acids, and fish from the sea and grazing animals provide the critical omega-3. Omega-6 fatty acids from nuts and seeds are consumed in their natural forms as foods and not as refined oils as we have in the U.S.

The sad story for the American diet is the huge shift to refined sugars, refined grains, refined grain and seed oils, which provide many calories but are largely nutrient deficient. We also consume artificial chemicals as a normal part of our diet. It is no wonder that we have the health issues that overwhelm us. We wonder why we are sick? We turn to pharmaceutical drugs as if they can cure our diseases. The basic truth here is that good health is not possible without good nutrition. Traditional diets provide a wide range of nutrients that come from the foods of the earth. Refined and chemicalized foods do not nourish the body and cannot provide the building blocks of good health.

If a person is unwilling to take responsibility for their food and diet choices then not much can be done. Supplements can help, but supplements are not a replacement for eating quality food, prepared well and served with love. The challenge for many people is making sense of the nutritional information that is available to them. This is especially true when it comes to diets. Today the Mediterranean diet is more popular than ever, with new research every month documenting its benefits.

Getting Started with the Mediterranean Diet: Nine Steps

Embracing the Mediterranean diet is all about making some simple but profound changes in the way you eat today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life.

  1. Eat lots of vegetables. Vegetables are vitally important to the fresh tastes and delicious flavors of the Mediterranean diet.
  2. Change the way you think about meat. If you eat meat, have smaller amounts.
  3. Enjoy some dairy products. Eat Greek or plain yogurt, and try smaller amounts of a variety of cheeses.
  4. Eat seafood twice a week. Fish such as tuna, herring, salmon and sardines. Shellfish including mussels, oysters and clams have similar benefits.
  5. Cook a vegetarian meal one night a week. Down the road, try two nights per week.
  6. Use good fats. Include sources of healthy fats in daily meals. Avoid bad fats.
  7. Switch to whole grains. Whole grains’ fuller, nuttier taste and extra fiber keep you satisfied for hours.
  8. For dessert, eat fresh fruit.
  9. Learn more about the health benefits and the “how-to” of the traditional Mediterranean diet.

Oldwayspt.org is a consumer-friendly site where you can explore the science of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. They reference over 150 studies on the Mediterranean diet. They dispense with the jargon and help you under the context of the studies. They also have similar resources for other traditional diets such as Asian, African and Latin American. These are the diets that have sustained humans for thousands of years. Oldways is a resource rich site that will help you understand and appropriate the best from all of these world traditions.

One thing that becomes abundantly clear to me as I research the traditional diets of the world is the commonality of the benefits of eating wholesome nutritious foods no matter what the tradition or culture. Traditional diets are rich in the natural compounds upon which health is built. A diet that is stripped of its nutrients cannot provide health. Foods and supplements nourish the body. That is how nutrients exert their benefits to the structure and function of the human body. Eat better to be better.

I will be wrapping up my contribution to Nature’s Pathways at the end of this year. It has been a lot of fun providing thought-provoking articles for your consideration for the past years. You will be able to follow my writings and interviews at HealthQuestPodcast.com. You can also speak with me personally through Family Nutrition Center. Just contact the store for an appointment. 

Steve Lankford

Steve studied and practiced natural health and healing for three years way back in the early 1970s. In 1976, he and his wife Debbie opened Family Nutrition Center, a health food store in Green Bay. Family Nutrition Center is located at 850-A Lombardi Ave. in Green Bay. Family Nutrition Center can help you discover a nutritional program that works. For more information, visit www.familynutritioncenter.com or call 920-432-6886.

Steve is also the host of HealthQuestPodcast.com, dedicated to nutrition and your good health. The mission of the podcast is to explore the science of good nutrition and good health, and to share that with listeners and customers.

Website: www.familynutritioncenter.com
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