Well, you know how I’m always saying not to give up if you slip up on your resolutions? That’s why I’m here! I had the goal to post every week this year…and I missed last week. I’m sorry. It was crazy. But I was doing lots of nutrition thinking.
I had the opportunity to speak at a community event on mental health, specifically on nutrition and mental health. That is a pretty broad way to look at things. For example, eating a cookie seems like it would be good for my mental health when my kids are being crazy in the afternoon. Anyone else?
My focus was more on clinical mental health issues. Turns out, research in both depression and Alzheimer’s disease has shown some benefit to a Mediterranean diet. Overall, the research just shows that a “healthy” diet is good for our brains. Surprising, I know. But the Mediterranean diet has done well in several studies I found and is a generally accepted healthy eating plan. I thought I’d highlight some points of this diet plan today.
1) Primarily a plant based diet. Think whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts. This is NOT a low carb diet. But it does steer away from refined sugars.
2) Focus on healthy fats, particularly olive oil, avocados, and nuts. This is NOT a low fat diet. But research in several areas has shown that a diet high in fat BUT high in healthy fats is good for us.
3) Eat fish at least twice a week. Eat little red meat, focusing more on fish and poultry. Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, and arctic char, are great for our heart and circulation. Avoid fried fish.
4) Get plenty of exercise. This has immediate benefits for your mental well being as it releases endorphins that make you feel good.
5) Enjoy meals with friends and family. Slow down and savor your food and the dining experience. Often, you can find that you eat less when you eat more slowly. Just be careful to not slow down and sit at the table SO long that you keep taking seconds, thirds, etc.
6) Optional: drink red wine in moderation. Some health benefits have been shown with drinking nor more than 5 ounces of wine per day. However, most health professionals do not encourage ADDING drinking to your diet. Just drink with a purpose if you already do drink.
Below are some Mediterranean diet friendly recipes from this site. I’ll be back tomorrow with a simple breakfast idea. Enjoy!