More aspects of the Mediterranean Diet
October 27, 2013 Admin 0In March of this year, we featured an article discussing the Mediterranean Diet and in particular its implications in preventing a phenomenon, often referred to as ‘Metabolic Syndrome X’. Metabolic Syndrome X is often described as a cluster of conditions, associated with an increased risk of things like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. For those that didn’t catch that article (and we suggest you check it out when you have time), it can be found here.Although the diet has been well documented to help prevent disease and promote longevity, it has come under scrutiny for the fact it can be expensive to follow, due to the high fresh produce content, which is priced in an artificially inflated manner by stores and multiples in the Western World. Additionally, so many families or individuals of deteriorated socioeconomic status often do not shop smartly, allocating the majority of their budget to processed foods, for various reasons, often from the perception of value for money and the fact that they may be easier to prepare when pressed for time.Paradoxically, learning how to smart shop and eliminating any foods which are not in the interests of health promotion, such as processed meats, snacks, puddings, soft drinks and other junk foods is likely to be more financially viable long term, rather than just inducing monetary difficulties in the short term. Besides learning how to prepare nutritious food with often limited ingredients, consumers also need to learn how to identify and avoid foods which lack nutritional value and are detrimental to health. As food is marketed, branded, promoted and packaged in an often misleading manner, this can be a difficult task for many to accomplish.
Following the Mediterranean Diet need not be difficult, but some of the skill lies in the storage and subsequent preparation of fresh produce. Another approach that needs to be embraced is the maintaining of food cupboards or pantries which feature ingredients like olive oil, whole grain pasta, fruits,vegetables and herbs. Substituting some fresh produce with tinned or dried is perfectly acceptable, both from an economic and space standpoint and from a versatility aspect. For example, using fresh herbs in cooking or as a garnish is an excellent way to add phytochemicals to your food, but fresh herbs can be costly. The same could be said about storing fresh tomatoes or beans. Using tinned beans and tomatoes and dried herbs can be worthy alternatives, but like most approaches, should not be relied on.
To augment the validity of the diet, besides its implications in metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease and cancer, some studies have also implicated it in the preservation of mind function and memory efficiency. It has previously been noted that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease may also be reduced by those who follow the the Mediterranean diet. It was supposed that higher contents of Vitamin E and the fact that less processed foods were being consumed were contributing to the lowered risk. Subsequently a close link was made between diets rich in extra virgin olive oil and the disease, in particular a compound called Oleocanthal.
Oleocanthal is a phenylathanoid (a phenolic compound characterized by phenethyl alcohol structure) and evidence exists to suggest it is the component of olive oil which gives it a rich almost burning taste at the back of the mouth and throat when consumed. The compound possesses both, free radical quenching and anti-inflammatory properties and is a non selective inhibitor of cycloxygenase which is a prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase. Oleocanthal from olive oil as a regular addition to the diet, is why the risk of Alzheimer’s disease may be reduced. Hopefully this article has augmented our original piece on the Mediterranean diet and expounded its benefits in a little more detail, making it easier to implement and follow.
Tags: Alzheimer's, dad, diet, disease, fish, fresh, fruit. vegetables, Herbs, longevity, Mediterranean, monounsaturated, Oil, oleic, oleocanthal, olive, omega 3, poor, poultry, prevention, rich, socioeconomic, tocopherol