Human beings are curious creatures. But the power of thought that has been gifted to us has made us our own enemies.
The biggest invention of the 21st century, according to us, is the fast-food culture. Foods like burgers and pizzas which were an occasional food mostly meant for celebrations, have been commercialised as a convenient go-to food option when we are pressed for time.
Due to our hectic lifestyle habits, eating fresh and healthy food has become a luxury of sorts. Technology doesn't help either. We can order anything at the touch of a button and have it delivered to us in minutes.
Now, we are definitely not against a burger with the perfect patty or a cheesy gooey pizza baked to perfection...How can anyone not like that? But all good things come with a bad side as well. Fast food is usually loaded with refined flours, sugar and unhealthy amounts of salt, unnatural preservatives and what not. All these things wreak havoc in our bodies. If consumed regularly, these foods can become the root causes of major health problems in our body, such as heart diseases, diabetes or blood pressure and even cancer.
Yes, it is a proven fact now. Cancer and a poor diet go hand in hand.
This state of emergency has led to a lot of research. In fact, recently the World Health Organisation pointed out about certain kinds of diet, which helps decrease the risk of heart diseases and cancer into half - also known as the Mediterranean and the Nordic Diet.
What Are Mediterranean And Nordic Diets?
These are two types of eating habits which are particularly followed by the people living in the Mediterranean region, especially Italy and Greece. Their diet usually incorporates vegetables, fish, nuts and olive oil. Nordic diet mainly focuses on berries, pulses and rapeseed oil. While veggies sautéed in olive oil form a major part of the Mediterranean diet, carbs are taken in lesser portions to keep weight in check.
Most of the Mediterranean recipes include generous usage of legumes, nuts and seeds. Poultry such as eggs, cheese and yogurt are limited. They get their protein mostly from lean meats such as chicken and fish. There is almost no recipe which uses refined flours, therefore whole grains are abundantly used. What is the best part of this diet is that these eating habits are many generations old.
The Nordic diet, on the other hand, is mainly followed by people living in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland. It usually involves the use of fatty fish, low-fat dairy, whole grains and various berries and roots in rapeseed oil. Moreover, the method of cooking deployed by them helps the food remain nutritionally intact. They believe in the method of low temperature cooking and baking.
Benefits Of These Diets
Both these diets are close in terms of their calorie content as well as nutritional value. Since these diets are based on whole grains, lean meats and healthy fats, they are against increasing weight, which is known to be the major cause of all life-threatening diseases.
Here are some other ways in which these diets benefit us:
1. The Mediterranean/Nordic diet has almost no dependence on sugary fizzy drinks. Whole fruits are given precedence over processed and refined foods.
2. Colorectal cancer or any other kind of cancer is mainly due to a low-fibre diet and large amounts of red meat and alcohol. The Mediterranean/Nordic diet has limitations over the uses of these ingredients, thereby cutting the risk of cancer into half.
3. The olive oil and the rapeseed oil used as a cooking medium in these diets are known to be the healthiest sources of monounsaturated fats.
4. The nuts and seeds used in these diets included in the Mediterranean/Nordic diet increase the antioxidant activity in the body and lessen the amount of harmful fat particles to help reduce blood pressure and inflammation.
5. The Nordic diet is especially helpful in reducing insulin insensivity.
6. Due to the focus on monounsaturated fatty acids, these diets cut the risk of high cholesterol levels in the body.
7. The berries included in the Mediterranean/Nordic diet increase the antioxidant activity in the body and lessen the amount of harmful fat particles circulating in the blood.
8. People who follow these diets never have to worry about vitamin or mineral deficiency due to the large amount of fresh veggies used in the dishes.
9. The method of preparation of the dishes in these diets is known to improve the bioavailability of nutrients in the ingredients used.
10. The Mediterranean/Nordic diet is also associated with reduced neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.