©Arlene R. Taylor, PhD
Multiple studies tout the benefits of the Mediterranean Way—at least the traditional cuisine and way of life. Many components of the Mediterranean Way fit well with a Longevity Lifestyle.
- Make physical activity (movement) part of your normal day. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by the skeletal muscles that results in caloric expenditures. Exercise is considered a subcategory of physical activity, resulting in improvement of one or more facets of physical fitness.
- Slow down and take pleasure in what you are doing. An attitude that focuses on the healthy pleasures of life rather than being overly or rigidly concerned about what is ‘good for me’ provides more health benefits. It’s all in the attitude.
- Engage regularly in social interaction. Carve out some personal time for relaxation and reflection, but social interaction is beneficial, as well. Be sure to schedule opportunities to talk and laugh with others, share discussions about life and living, and engage in interesting and enjoyable activities together.
- The basics of Mediterranean cuisine include:
- Vegetables: colorful variety, fresh or frozen
- Legumes: lentils, peas, and beans
- Fruits: colorful variety, fresh or frozen
- Cereals: ancient whole grains, as unprocessed as possible
- Breads and pastas: sourdough in moderation, rather than commercial yeast breads; ancient-grain and veggie pastas (preferably not wheat or white-flour pasta). Consider Non-GMO products.
- Nuts: a dozen or so including walnuts every day (preferably raw or dry roasted without oil or salt)
- Plant-based oils: use in moderation extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings and consider coconut oil for cooking
- Avocado: use in moderation in place of mayonnaise and cheese in sandwiches, casseroles, or tacos
- Water: make it your basic beverage
- Wine: if used, red is preferable to white, and informed moderation is important.
- Dairy: use sparingly and select non-fat or low-fat. According to Richard W. Hubbard, PhD, a Loma Linda University protein researcher, “Milk is just liquid meat.”
- Fish, fowl, and meat: less is more, so move toward using them as condiments rather than main dishes. Aim for plant-based proteins to reduce your risk of mercury poisoning, exposure to arsenic-laced products, and disease-causing organisms.
Studies have shown that a greater adherence to traditional Mediterranean cuisine is associated with a significant reduction in total mortality (see Selected Bibliography in the LLM textbook).