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The Mediterranean Diet: Can Moving Abroad Offer a Healthier Lifestyle?

Aside from getting enough exercise and eating less, they say that both spending time outdoors and eating in healthier ways can drastically alter our mood and have positive effects on our mental health, not to mention our physical health. But what’s the big deal when it comes to a Mediterranean diet? And, could it be better for our overall health to live our lives in a healthier way abroad? This article will explore a little further.

A Mediterranean diet for health:

The Mediterranean diet is exactly as it sounds, eating habits that are based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. What makes this diet so good for us is that it consists of a high intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats such as olive oil and fatty seafood, while red meat and dairy products are kept to a minimum. Here in the UK, the staple diet tends to be meat and two veg, and we tend to consume more red meat than that traditionally consumed by countries bordering the Med. With the habits of countries such as Spain, for example, focussing more on fresh produce from plants and a moderate intake of seafood, the Mediterranean diet could be a hugely beneficial eating habit for our health. Studies have shown, for example, that even eating red meat three times per week could increase our chances of developing heart disease by ten 10%. And, that diets that are higher in fresh vegetables and proteins from plants such as beans and bean curd could help us both lose weight and be at a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. Not only that, were we to be living in a culture that embraces this way of eating, it is likely that we would also embrace the traditions surrounding it, which can do wonders for our overall wellbeing, such as sharing meals with family and friends, being more active and perhaps enjoying a glass of red wine or two on an evening.

How the sunshine impacts our wellbeing:

According to Unity Point health, the sun has a significant impact on our mental and physical health. Spending time in the sunshine, or having access to a greater amount of sunshine throughout the year can help lift our mood, allow us to sleep better, relieve stress and, of course, gives us a higher intake of vitamin D. The impact of the sunshine upon our wellbeing is partly down to the fact that it triggers the release of serotonin in the brain, also known as ‘the feel good hormone’, which is why it can lift our mood, give us more energy and inspire us to stay positive and form healthier habits.

Why living in Mediterranean countries could be better for our health:

The thing about living our day-to-day as Brits is that we don’t get the same opportunities as those living in a warmer climate. Not only are we so used to the rat-race that we often forget to make time for ourselves, but we live for convenience which leads to bad eating habits, less time taking in the world around us and less time outdoors. It may be that when we think of a life anywhere else that we have convinced ourselves that the pace of life will be the same. But it’s simply not the case. Many places in Europe, such as Spain, Portugal, the Balearics and so on, have formed different attitudes around lifestyle because the climate, the food and the cost of living all add up to a more relaxed and enjoyable pace of living. So, it could well be true – moving abroad could actually do wonders for our health and wellbeing.

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