Health Behaviour #3: Quality of food
Eating too much of any type of food is bad for us. A balance is needed and the Mediterranean diet is the most researched diet to show long term benefits in heart disease prevention, and, it is a balanced approach to eating. Eating the Mediterranean diet is a behaviour as much as it is a diet / pattern of eating. We have to hunt and gather the food, we have to prepare the food and we have to eat the food. That’s a lot of behaviours needed to get this right.
The Mediterranean diet includes a great variety of foods, which are eaten in moderation. It is focused on a high intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, white meats and olive oil. But also includes moderate consumption of dairy products and a low intake of red meat. Wine in moderation “with meals” is also suggested. Nutritionally, this diet covers all the bases to give the best nutrients to prevent diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterols. In other words, the Mediterranean diet helps prevent heart disease risk factors which then prevents heart disease. There is no magic here, prevent or control the risk factors and you will prevent or control heart disease. Preventing or controlling risk factors depends on upping our game with better healthy behaviours:
- Be physically active
- Don’t overeat
- Eat good quality food (Mediterranean diet)
- Don’t have any smoke exposure
You will already be eating a lot of the foods in the Mediterranean diet and it will be a matter of adjusting rather than total change in diet. This type of eating becomes quite normal and easy to follow after a few months of “not cheating”. Also, the Mediterranean diet related dietary behaviours apply to everyone of all ages. This includes, teens and early adulthood people before they have any heart disease right through to the older population with heart disease already, anyone and everyone benefits.
There is lots of information online about the Mediterranean diet and there are some variables between different websites but they all essentially promote the same healthy behaviours. I am attaching a Mediterranean Diet Pyramid example and I encourage you to look for more examples and develop your own Mediterranean Diet behaviours. Enjoy!!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in blog entries are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Heart Niagara.