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The Mediterranean Diet: What is It & Will It Help Me?

 

Eating healthy with the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has all the basic components of “healthy eating.” It even allows for the odd cheeky glass of red wine, so what’s not to like? If like me, you have been told to change your eating habits in order to help your health and healing with bladder cancer, then you really can’t go wrong with this “Mediterranean Lifestyle.”

This lifestyle is amazing: it is said that it reduces the bad cholesterol in our arteries (yay), protecting us from heart disease. Not only that, but it is also said to help to prevent illness like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and possibly even cancer.

So, what is the Mediterranean Lifestyle (ML)?

Basically, it is about eating lots of plant-based foods, all of your fruits and vegetables. Ideally, you need to consume between 7-10 portions a day. Think a plate filled with the colors of the rainbow: leafy salad greens, red and yellow peppers, rich, ripe tomatoes, beetroots, artichokes, asparagus, and zucchini all drizzled with a small bit of olive oil (sunshine oil in a bottle.) The ML encourages the use of olive and canola oils; they have less saturated fat than butter, so they’re good for lowering your cholesterol – and tasty, too. You can use olive oil as a dipping sauce for your wholegrain bread.

Fish

They say fish and seafood should be eaten at least twice a week: fresh sardines, trout, mackerel, and salmon. All these fish are high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids which play an essential role in our blood clotting and are also anti-inflammatory. Everything is cooked with herbs and spices in order to flavor their dishes; there is barely any salt present at all. Just lots of goodness.

Nuts

Nuts are also present in this lifestyle; they are perfect for a quick snack, full of protein, and therefore help keep you feeling fuller for longer. They are packed with antioxidants, and nuts also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Legumes

We are talking about chickpeas, lentils, peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, soybeans, etc. These are full of fiber and B vitamins which are essential for breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins within our bodies, as well as keeping our blood cells healthy.

The legume family is all low in fats and high in folates which is good for our DNA.  They are high in potassium which is important for maintaining the balance of acid within our bodies and can help to regulate our blood pressure. They also have iron, which is needed in order to make our red blood cells, and magnesium, which helps to keep our nerve and muscle functions normal while supporting our immune system.

Different from the diet I was raised eating

The ML really seems to have to have it all. You limit your chicken, your eggs, cheese and other dairy products and red meat is eaten perhaps only once or twice a month. This is such a contrast to the typical diet that I was brought up on, which was meat, potatoes, and two vegetables!

If you are thinking of making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, talk to your doctor to ensure you are getting all of the important nutrients that you need.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The BladderCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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