Improving Nutrition:The Mediterranean Diet

health6For healthy lifestyles it is important to adopt nutrition plans that reduce dietary fat, salt, sugars, processed foods, while using more fruits and vegetables, olive oil and olives,  lowering smoking and doing exercise. These are the most cost-effective non-pharmacological interventions known to reduce cardiovascular disease. This reflects recent evidence that such approaches benefits all age groups at elevated risk, even those with average or below average blood pressure or cholesterol (WHO).

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating plan using foods and recipes from the Mediterranean cuisine. These healthy diets include large amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits, olives and olive oil, nuts and whole grains, fresh fish, and limits fats, sugars and processed foods.  Honey is often used to substitute for sugars.  The Mediterranean diet uses less salt, instead it flavours food with herbs and spices which can have medicinal properties such oregon, thyme, rosemary, sage, chamomile, as well as use of wine in moderation.

Studies show that the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower level s of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, reduced incidence of cancer and Alzheimer’s.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 5 keys to healthy diets. These are:

  • Eat a variety of whole (unprocessed)  and staple foods
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits
  • Eat moderate amounts of fats and oils
  • Eat less salt and sugars
  • Breastfeed babies.

More information at http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/5keys_healthydiet/en/

For obesity prevention, WHO recommends strategies for the different age groups. They focus on:

  • Promoting active lifestyles
  • Limiting television viewing
  • Promoting the intake of fruits and vegetables
  • Restricting the intake of energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods (e.g. packaged snacks)
  • Restricting the intake of sugars-sweetened soft drinks.

More information at http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/42665/1/WHO_TRS_916.pdf?ua=1