Live up to 100 years with the Spanish Mediterranean Diet
Spanish cuisine is just plain fun, we all must have tried some sort of Tapas even before going to Spain. Despite not being as famous as its nearby Pizza or the Japanese Sushi, when you name the word Tapas, you immediately recognize is Spanish food.
We want to talk about why Spanish food not only is a tasty and colorful option for your happy hours after the office, but why it also is something that could make you live until 82 years or more… That is the Spanish average life expectancy at least, not bad uh?!
The Mediterranean Diet is considered among one of the healthiest eating diets you could dream of having. Only the Japanese live longer than the Spaniards, with an average life expectancy of 83 years (so yes, eat tons of Sushi too!).
The consumption of extra virgin olive oil, fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits, nuts, grains and dried fruit enrichens this diet with most of the minerals and vitamins your body needs!
That could perhaps be one of the key parts of this diet. High quality fresh olive oil is essential for the well functioning of many of your organs, especially when used raw as a dressing or on meals. A healthy cholesterol protein is important for the processing of the fat (lipids) in your body. Ironically, the fats in the extra virgin olive oil keep you thin and your heart well lubed! Same for fish oil and avocado by the way!
Spain is a fertile area, varying from different climates. Only in the canary islands where you have a tropical climate throughout the year, given it is a volcanic island, bananas are available all year long.
Grapes, so wine is also widespread, and despite Spain being behind France and Italy in wine production it is growing , in quality mainly. Peaches, strawberries are only some of the other fruit Spain produces. Oranges of course are produced for most of Europe here.
Cereals, play a big role in the diet too. Rice. the ever-so-famous paella! Typically known in the Valencia area (paella valenciana). Cereals are mainly carbohydrates, a healthy source of energy, necessary for many of your daily kidney functions. Wheat whole grains are way better of course, as they have a slower digestion time, providing you with more energy for a longer period of time, but especially they give you an immediate sense of fullness.
Dairy products are widely present on the table, not only the desserts of course, but the incredibly large selection of cheeses, manchego, cabrales, burgos are the most famous ones, but the list goes on, oh boy if it goes on!
Eggs, blue fish, seafood are simply the crown on top of the table… Healthy proteins, omega-3 acids and minerals!
Anchovies (very common in Cantabria), cod (typical of the Basque Country), and “pescaíto frito” (fried fish) in Andalusia, and especially, seafood from Galicia. Basically with Spain facing both the sea and the ocean, it has the largest variety of tasty fish you could desire!
Wine. This red grape juice aged in wood is also another key protagonist. Full of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, red wine makes the great companion of most of the Mediterranean diet’s meals. Of course, the abuse of it is never healthy, but the same counts if you drink more than 2 liters of orange juice per day! So behave on that one. Wine is not only a drink you have with a meal. It gets down to the culture.
Often opening up a nice bottle of wine (does not need to be pricey!) is seen as a shared moment of celebration. An opportunity to gather around, chat and enjoy the present moment together.
Could this be perhaps the most important, invisible ingredient of the Spanish and Mediterranean Diet? Spending quality time together, enjoying every single meal, perhaps all together, with time, no tv, sharing and talking out loud?
Who knows, one thing is sure, this combination somehow works. Perhaps laying down for 20-30 minutes after lunch could relieve a good share of your daily stress? Siesta has been proven to decrease brutally the risks of heart related diseases, remember that siesta does not necessarily mean sleeping for half an hour. You might as well just lay down and relax for a bit. Do not stress yourself over forcing yourself to sleep! Often simply resting your eyes in a quiet environment is enough.
I hope you enjoyed this article and that you might experiment including some of the Spanish lifestyle habits in your everyday life.
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