By Vanessa Richins
When I was going to community college, I took an Italian cooking class.
I developed a love of olive oil, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and more.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve started eating more fruits, vegetables and nuts.
I didn’t realize it, but I’m not far off from what’s called the “Mediterranean Diet”, of which I would personally consider the tomato a star. The name comes from the diet common to the areas, like Italy, around the Mediterranean Sea – fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, olive oil and nuts. It’s been lauded for years as a way to a healthy heart.
Scientists are now saying that it may also be a key to a healthy mind. As the New York Times reports, “A study of over 10,000 Spaniards followed for almost four and half years on average found that those who reported eating a healthy Mediterranean diet at the beginning of the study were about half as likely to develop depression than those who said they did not stick to the diet.”
As the article goes on to say, it could be because parts of our brains are made up with fats, so the types of fats you consume would affect how well it functions. More research needs to be done to try to prove the connection, but it’s an intriguing idea.
Interested in adopting a Mediterranean diet? The American Heart Association suggests :
- high consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
- olive oil is an important monounsaturated fat source
- dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, and little red meat is eaten
- eggs are consumed zero to four times a week
- wine is consumed in low to moderate amounts
I say break out the tomatoes and olive oil, along with all the other good foods they suggest, and start eating a Mediterranean diet today!