Mediterranean populations are 22% less likely to develop breast cancer, 20% less prone to heart disease and at least 60% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than Americans. Learn why some of their staple foods are the keys to longevity.
Italy’s Health Secret: Pasta With Tomato Sauce
Unlike the cream-based or sodium-packed sauces you find in restaurants and stores, Mediterranean tomato sauces are traditionally simple and low in salt, fat and calories. Tomatoes have a host of health benefits: Cooking them releases the antioxidant lycopene, which helps reduce your risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer. They also contain a compound that research shows can protect your arteries from the fats and cholesterol in your blood, lowering your risk of stroke, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Greece’s Health Secret: Shared Habits
Studies of the healthiest, longest living people in Greece reveal that they eat many of their meals together, walk daily and take midday naps. Eating with family and friends helps to reduce stress. Daily activity, even as little as a 15-minute walk, will help lower blood pressure, which decreases your risk for stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. Short midday naps also lower these risks, as getting regular rest lowers blood pressure and improves brain health.
Turkey’s Health Secret: Snacking on Nuts
Turkey’s favorite snacks are loaded with health benefits. Nuts like pistachios and walnuts are loaded with healthy fats, including omega-3s, which lower your LDL cholesterol and regulate heart rhythm. Nuts are also packed with fiber to maintain digestive health. If you’re concerned about the high-calorie content of nuts, remember this: Your body can’t digest nuts entirely, reducing their caloric value by 10 to 15% off of the total calories.