In the news- Mediterranean diet

More good news this week about the Mediterranean diet.
The science bit- each and every cell in your body has a 'blueprint' for the activity of that cell which is the DNA, contained in chromosomes.  The ends of these chromosomes are protected by telomeres which are especially important when cells divide.  As we age these telomeres become shorter and weaker and eventually this may lead to the cell becoming unable to divide, which in turn leads to disease.  The telomere length therefore is a good indicator of the aging process.    The good news is that eating a  Mediterranean diet would seem to keep telomeres longer and healthier.  For more on this story see the link below.

The Mediterranean diet does seem to have a great deal going for it.  It is claimed that the Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 30%.  Added to this it also reduces the risk of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and diabetes. It is certainly packed with antioxidants, essential  fatty acids and fibre.  Foods that cause blood sugar 'spikes' are avoided in favour of whole grains which stabilize blood sugar and salt, which is associated with high blood pressure is avoided.  The Mediterranean diet does include some hard cheese which may be surprising BUT hard cheese actually lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).  It has been suggested that when saturated fat is combined with calcium it forms a substance that our bodies find difficult to absorb.
Below are the key features of a Mediterranean diet:-
  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables in a variety of colours.
  • A little cheese (see above)
  • Whole grains, wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, quinoa, bulgar wheat etc
  • Oily fish
  • Beans and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Unhealthy fats are limited.  Butter and margarine are replaced by olive oil.
  • Salt is limited.  Replace with herbs
  • Avoid sugar.

Here are some recipes to get you started

Tomato and basil soup with sun dried tomato and olive bread

Serves 2

For the tomato soup
1 onion, finely chopped in blender
1 carton organic chopped tomatoes in juice
150ml unsweetened soya milk
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp organic reduced salt boullion
fresh basil leaves to garnish

Place the onion, chopped tomatoes, dried basil, and boullion in a pan.  Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir milk in and warm through.  Garnish with fresh basil and serve with olive and sun dried tomato bread (see below).

For the bread

200g rye flour
275g spelt
1tsp baking powder
20 Queen olives in brine sliced
10 pieces sun dried tomatoes sliced
300ml unsweetened soya milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice stirred in

Sieve the flours together with the baking powder into a bowl.  Stir in the milk and lemon juice, olives and sun dried tomatoes. Knead.  Shape into a round and place on a baking tray. Using a knife make a cross in the top.  Bake at 200 degrees for 40-45minutes.


Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

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