Today I read an article in Science Daily: Can a Mediterranean Diet Pattern Slow Aging? The Mediterranean diet has been popping up on my radar a lot lately. It was mentioned at the seminar I went to on Inflammation and in some of the books I’ve been reading, like Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being. I find it interesting that the Mediterranean diet is gaining popularity since it varies quite a bit from the Paleo and Keto diets which have been popular lately. Here is a description of the diet as quoted from Science Daily:
Hallmarks of the Mediterranean diet include: a variety of minimally processed whole grains and legumes as the staple food; plenty of a huge diversity of fresh vegetables consumed on a daily basis; fresh fruits as the typical daily dessert; cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds as the principal source of fat; moderate consumption of fish; dairy products consumed in low amounts; red and processed meat consumed in very low frequency and amounts; and wine consumed in low to moderate amounts only with meals.
The Mayo Clinic promotes the Mediterranean diet for Heart Health and I have been seeing it pop up for weight loss as well. Now it looks like it might be good for reducing inflammation and preventing aging. I have been looking into this myself and paying attention to foods that reduce inflammation. The older I get, the more I appreciate how inflammation affects my body and how I feel.
It’s interesting how nutrition fads change, though, almost like fashion. We read in the news about how obesity is going up in Americans, and worldwide, really. And it seems to me that people are worried about it. Almost everyone I talk to would like to lose some weight. It feels like we are all just trying to figure out how. As we struggle with it, different diets and ways of eating pop up: Whole 30, Atkins, Paleo, Keto, Vegan, South Beach, and so on.
I lost a lot of weight back in 2013. I did it by the old-fashioned method of calorie tracking, but with a modern twist, I used an app. It worked great for me. But having talked to numerous friends and family who have since then who have tried it – it is not a cure-all for everyone. Different people are motivated by different things. I happen to be motivated by data. But some folks just become overwhelmed by it or are indifferent to it. We are all so different it what lights us up and gets us motivated.
There are a lot of folks who like diet plans, whether it be going Vegan or eating the Mediterranean diet. They are nice because they give basic guidelines to follow. However, even within these diets, I see different reactions. Some people I know have been incredibly happy with high protein or high-fat diets. Other friends of mine have said there is no way they could give up their grains and high-quality carbs. And this is why I think that we need a more personalized approach to nutrition. It’s great that certain diets are good for specific conditions (Keto can be amazing for epilepsy sufferers, for example,) but we shouldn’t try to pigeonhole people all into one diet or the other. There are too many other factors – family history, religion, politics, personal taste, income, access, just to name a few that I can think of off the top of my head.
I think diet and nutrition (and exercise, for that matter) have to have a personalized component for it to work. The successful diet for you is the one that works for you.