The Tasty Way to Success - The Mediterranean Diet
It comes to no surprise that runners and people that are doing sports on a regular basis have a different demand on nutrition to get the needed energy to achieve their best performance. Of course, it's hard to give a general guideline because it'll always depend on the intensity and type of the physical activity, age and gender.
One diet which is nonetheless often suggested as being a universal way to live a healthier life is the Mediterranean diet. So, what is it about?
Diet or lifestyle shift of your eating habits?
Ranked as the best overall diet of 2021 by the U.S. News and World Report this pattern of eating is most commonly spread in countries close to the Mediterranean Sea like Spain, Italy, Greece and Southern France but also Tunisia and Turkey. Obviously, all of those mentioned have very different (and delicious) cuisines, but it's what they have in common that makes the diet so beneficial.
Going through the components we will also stumble upon some striking similarities with the Japanese Diet we talked about in a previous blog - that is also known to boost health and performance!
Good news, seafood enthusiasts!
The Mediterranean menu highly emphasizes fish and seafood (at least twice a week!), an ingredient that northern countries often lack in their respective diets. Together with various fruits, vegetables and whole grains, it benefits many body functions that are crucial for doing sports and the recovery afterwards. Poultry, eggs, cheese and yoghurt are being used in moderation and provide the needed proteins. Dishes like shrimp pasta or Greek salad are perfect examples and actually quite easy to prepare!
Red meat and sweets on the other hand are saved for special occasions, limiting consumption to only a few times a month. While some runners might argue that they need red meat for their iron intake, you'll actually be able to substitute it with vegetables like spinach.
In addition, the fats you'll find in olive oil, the various nuts and seeds are mostly healthy ones that will boost your endurance and help you to stay mentally strong as well - apart from being super tasty!
The secret ingredient
One thing most Mediterranean countries have in common is their passion for a particular beverage, wine!
While running and alcohol certainly make a bad combination because of dehydration and increased risks of heart disease - in low amounts (2-3 glasses a week) red wine can have some pretty amazing effects on your body. It raises HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol), reduces the formation of blood clots and helps prevent artery damage.
And in the end, some people stay motivated by rewarding themselves after a long day of running or exercise. Topping it off with a glass of wine seems to be the perfect choice to do so!
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