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Updated 06 March 2013

Go the Mediterranean route

Eat wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, fish, legumes, olive oil and nuts, and you could live to a ripe old age. DietDoc takes a look at the many benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.

As a descendant of Mediterranean ancestors, I've always enjoyed eating Mediterranean food and am convinced that this type of diet has a highly positive influence on health and longevity.

  • Pasta made from durum wheat (low-GI), bread, rice, couscous, polenta (yellow, unsifted maize meal), and other wholegrains and potatoes
  • Fresh vegetables in large quantities, which contain protective antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and phytonutrients
  • Fresh fruit in moderate quantities that also provide the above-mentioned protective nutrients
  • Legumes (dry, canned or cooked peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils) rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals
  • Plenty of fish, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and only small quantities of lean meat and eggs
  • Milk and dairy products, especially fermented milk products such as plain yoghurt, and cheese like Parmesan and Ricotta
  • Plenty of monounsaturated fatty acids in the form of olive oil, olives and nuts
  • Red wine, which contains antioxidants (polyphenols) to protect the heart
  • Plenty of allium-containing foods such as fresh garlic, onions, shallots and leeks

The benefits of the MD are regarded as so important that the Oldways Organisation (2008) has included the MD Pyramid on its website to promote better health worldwide.

 
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