How to Live like a Mediterranean …
for a Long and Happy Life
When we think of Mediterranean, our minds drift off to deep Blue Waters, Tranquil Living, Delicious Healthy Food, and the scents of Orange Blossom and Roses. The Mediterranean Lifestyle is a fantasy for many to be enjoyed on a Holiday. However, this lifestyle and its attributes can be incorporated into anyone’s life adding great benefits to your health and wellbeing. The Mediterranean Lifestyle encompasses more than the diet itself. The secret is not only in discovering the elements of the perfect diet, but also having the confidence to live life to the fullest, while finding the perfect balance in eating, working, and living habits. A diet rich in vegetables, legumes, grains, and olive oil; an active lifestyle with daily, moderate exercise; low overall stress levels; close relationships with friends and family; interaction and being an active part of a community, all greatly contribute to our overall health and well-being and help to shape this distinct lifestyle. Let’s learn the pillars of the Mediterranean Lifestyle and how to incorporate them into our life.
These Pillars are the secrets to Health, Happiness, and Longevity.
Any small change that you can make will make a difference.
There are 7 Pillars that make the Mediterranean Lifestyle Unique.
1 Mediterranean Diet
Probably the best known and healthiest diet in the world is currently the Mediterranean diet, which is a incorporates elements of French, Italian, Lebanese, Moroccan, Greek and Spanish. It not a diet for weight loss but reflects the way people in these areas have eaten and lived for centuries. Mainly fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, beans and legumes, nuts, and seeds as well as unsaturated fats such as olive oil are featured. The Mediterranean cuisine is much more than a collection of different foods and nutrients, it is an integral part and expression of all Mediterranean history, culture, and customs shared over centuries.
On a Mediterranean diet, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats like olive oil should be enjoyed several times per day. Legumes are a source of healthy fats, fiber, protein, nutrients, with unrefined whole grains recommended at least once a day. Fish is a once-a-week staple, containing omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the heart and brain. Snack on nuts and seeds as a delicious and healthy alternative, multiple times per week. The consumption of saturated fats and refined sugars, red meat and highly processed foods should be kept to an absolute minimum and for special occasions only.
The diet has been the focus of much Research and benefits Heart Health, Brain Health, Blood Sugar Balance and so much more. It is wonderful for Anti-Aging and Beauty. Plus, it prevents many chronic diseases. All the wonderful benefits plus the delicious and savory flavors of the wonderful countries can transport you there.
2 Social Connection and Family
Family and friends have always played a very important role for the people of the Mediterranean. They know that social activities and relationships have a huge impact on their quality of life and therefore it is not uncommon for several generations to live together in one household. This lifestyle promotes the joint care and inclusion of young children as well as that of the grandparents in day-to-day family life. Keeping older family members in close contact with their loved ones promotes a sense of safety, belonging and security that they cherish in their later years.
People in the Mediterranean spend much of their social time outdoors and it is easy for them to connect and engage with others. Meeting up with friends or go out with the family to enjoy a coffee or to share a meal is the typical Mediterranean lifestyle. They love to be surrounded with others, to laugh, talk, listen and to help. Spontaneous meetings arise, such as chatting with the neighbor and just sitting on the doorstep until late in the evening. These wonderful habits are widespread and practiced throughout the Mediterranean region.
Mediterranean people love midday naps “Siesta” in Spain, “Ripos” is Italy's lunch “Siesta”. Our inner clock is set to rest around noon. Sleep experts agree that an afternoon nap during working hours - also known as power napping, is highly recommendable. After an afternoon nap we are more alert, focused, and productive. For many midday sleepers, a short sleep a day has become a basic biological need that they cannot live without.
Other Ways to Relax after Work….
AT HOME Take a bath, read a book with a good cup of tea, or just make yourself comfortable on the couch. In short: take the time to do something that is good for you in the comfort of your home.
EXERCISE In the gym, jogging in the park or on the exercise bike - the main thing is that you really work up a sweat. Worries and frustrations can be converted into energy, and you can reboot your thoughts.
NATURE offers many opportunities to relax. Simply absorb the tranquility of your surroundings. Let Nature absorb your stress and transform it.
WATER has a very calming effect on many people. For the relaxing effect it is usually enough to hear the pleasant sound of flowing water, take a few deep breaths and let your mind wander.
BENEFITS of RELAXATION:
- By relaxing we encourage the increase of blood flow to the muscles
- Lowered blood pressure and increased blood flow
- Decrease in anxiety, depression
- Helps against insomnia
- Reduces pain
- Boosts energy
- A sense of calmness and confidence
4 Laughter and Fun
Laughter, humor, and joy are an important part of life. There are physical, mental, and social benefits of laughter which improve the quality of life. It helps to stay mentally healthy and can even be compared to a mild workout. And laughter really is contagious, just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.
BENEFITS of LAUGHTER:
- Strengthens the immune system
- Triggers the release of endorphins
- Calms stress hormones
- Lowers blood pressure and help heart health
- Can reduce anxiety and is a natural anti-depressant
- Helps to create a positive mood
- Laughter connects us with others
5 Enjoy the Simple Things
The Mediterranean lifestyle is also about enjoying more from the simple things in life. These precious moments can pass us by unnoticed. If you’re mindful, you will see pieces of everyday beauty are always there, surrounding us with magic and joy.
Mediterranean people worry less about small things. Living a less materialistic and more relaxed lifestyle is one of the main reasons for their happiness and wellbeing. It helps to start and end the day with positive emotions and thoughts.
Take Time to Notice the Special Moments….
- A cup of fresh coffee
- Walking barefoot in the grass
- Admiring a Flower
- Listen to music
- Tasting Delicious Food
- Hugs from friends and family
- Enjoying good company
- Making other people happy
- Care, love and be loved
6 Stay Productive in Life
Our main purpose in life is to grow in wisdom and in love. We often do too many things instead of doing only a few things very well. To be productive we must dedicate our time to the things that bring us joy in our life and stop wasting time on things that don’t. Once you clarify your purpose in life you reduce your stress level and improve your relationships, health, and creativity.
The people in the Mediterranean remain productive in old age. They take part in everyday family life by taking care of grandchildren and preparing food. They pass on old traditional recipes and valuable knowledge to the next generations. They help with the work in the fields harvesting fruits, vegetables, and olives. They walk to the shops daily for some regular exercise and more importantly for the social interaction where they meet some friends and neighbors for a chat.
BENEFITS of PRODUCTIVITY
- Increase your quality of life
- Provides more peace in your life
- Achieve a work-life balance
- Keeps your mind active
- Gives life purpose
7 Physical Activity and Exercise
Physical activity and exercise are important for everyone. They improve well-being and quality of life. Numerous studies have shown that constant activity reduces risk of premature aging and death. Regular exercise and physical activity promote strong muscles and bones. It improves respiratory, cardiovascular health, and overall health. Staying active helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduces risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Being around nature and avoiding stress helps bring down the levels of cortisol. Serotonin, Dopamine, and endorphins are increased adding to your sense of wellbeing.
Doing a little physical activity is better than doing none. You don't have to visit the gym – an increase in daily activity can come from small changes made throughout the day. Start building more activity into your day, step by step. Exercising with other people can be more enjoyable and sociable. Half an hour of walking or exercising daily can help you feel much better and make positive changes to your health.
Leave your car in the garage and if possible, walk or take the bike instead. Get off the train early and walk to work or home. Take a walking break at lunchtime. There are different kinds of physical activities, find your motivation and get moving.
BENEFITS of PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
- Lower blood pressure
- Better blood circulation
- Stronger heart rate
- Better cholesterol and fat balance
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
BONE & JOINT STRENGTH
- Lower risk of developing osteoporosis
- Reduced issues with joint pain around the legs
- Relief from chronic lower back pain
POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH
Walking can have remarkable effects on your mental health by altering the levels of serotonin, endorphins, and stress hormones.
A daily walk at a moderate pace can go a long way in helping you to manage your weight better. It also provides significant boost in the process of digestion. Generally, a balanced healthy diet and some additional forms of exercises go hand in hand to lose weight.
It's a Lifestyle!
The Mediterranean Lifestyle encompasses more than the diet itself. The secret is not only in discovering the elements of the perfect diet, but also having the confidence to live life to the fullest, whilst finding the perfect balance in eating, working, and living habits. A diet rich in vegetables, pulses, grains, and olive oil; an active lifestyle with daily, moderate exercise; low overall stress levels; close relationships with friends and family; interaction and being an active part of a community, all greatly contribute to our overall health and well-being and help to shape this distinct lifestyle.
Next time you travel to Morocco, Italy, France Spain, Lebanon, or any of the wonderful Mediterranean countries…Enjoy the Sun, Seabreeze, Food, Cafes, Wine. Savor the culture and get a first-hand experience with the Warmth of the People. Imagine, so much simple pleasures from this region and see the benefits of the Food and Lifestyle on your skin, health, and Beauty.