The Mediterranean diet is not a diet at all, it’s a heart-healthy way of eating and living that isn’t a fad; it’s a lifestyle adopted throughout Italy and Southern Europe that has contributed to longevity and good health. Comprised chiefly of fruits, vegetables, olives, beans, olive oil, and whole grains, in addition to proteins like fresh dairy products and lean white meats including chicken, pork, and fish — this delicious diet has kept Italians healthy and happy for centuries. Moreover, this combination of healthy fats and nutrients has been proven to help extend longevity beyond the average American life expectancy while reducing cardiovascular issues such as heart disease and strokes. But we saved the best fact for last: wine is essential to the Mediterranean lifestyle.
A glass (or two on weekends) with every meal is the traditional Italian way. Red wines like shiraz, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, or syrah tend to have higher amounts of rich antioxidants due to their low sugar content. And according to a Harvard study, drinking wine alongside meals not only fills you up but also lowers cholesterol, regulates blood sugar, and even helps keep your memory sharp. The study also showed that Europeans have lower rates of coronary diseases and other dangerous (or fatal) health problems compared to other regions, like America.
And although replicating the eating habits of the Mediterranean culture has countless positive health benefits, the Americanization of many of these dishes and products has been altered and processed in a way that’s unhealthy and culturally inauthentic. At Pastene, that’s why our focus is on using fresh, high-quality ingredients, packed at their source. We hope to help more Americans discover authentic Mediterranean eating habits with our nutritious ingredients and Mediterranean-inspired recipes. Gone are the days of over-saucing your pasta or eating piles of unnaturally processed spaghetti and meatballs are over. And while sweets and red meats might taste delicious, there are more highly beneficial ways to satisfy those cravings.
Naturally, movement and exercise are an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, and when combined with delicious and nutritious meals, this lifestyle can bring about positive mental and emotional benefits as well. In the Mediterranean, it’s common to eat together with family and friends to help strengthen bonds while also establishing life-long healthy eating habits for children.
If you’re interested in living like the Mediterraneans do…here are a few of our favorite recipes to get you started:
Don’t forget to show us your Mediterranean-inspired creations by tagging @pasteneusa or using #MyPastene on Instagram!