Guest post by Julie Pepper Lim, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Meritage Medical Network.
Global Employee Health & Fitness Month (GEHFM) is an international observance of health and fitness in the workplace.
May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month and one of the things our team is doing to get in the spirit is focusing on the Mediterranean diet, which claims to be more of a lifestyle than a restrictive diet.
It’s called the Mediterranean diet because its foundation is the traditional foods people used to eat in countries like Italy and Greece back in 1960. Based on our research, it seems to be a way of eating that is simple and balanced enough that many people can follow it, not only for weight loss, but also for heart health and cancer prevention.
It focuses on plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, as well as healthy oils in place of butter and a higher concentration of fish and poultry versus red meat, though meat is not totally off the menu. All of these animal proteins should be eaten in moderation. Flavor is encouraged with lots of spices and herbs to bring it out and reduce salt intake and a moderate amount of red wine is allowed—well, it is called the Mediterranean Diet!
It’s been around for years, but has been recently highlighted once again for its health benefits.
It’s associated with a reduced risk of stroke and considered a way to help keep blood pressure, hypertension, and diabetes in check.
Steering away from saturated fat makes it good for your heart.
It’s associated with a reduced risk of cancer, and by a slight margin, breast cancer in particular.
Though research on diet and cognitive function is not vast, the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that what has been done does point to the benefits of the Mediterranean diet potentially reducing the risk of dementia.
From a holistic perspective, the Mediterranean’s focus is lifestyle. The emphasis is on sharing meals with family and friends because strong relationships have proven to benefit health, and physical activity is highly encouraged as well.
We’ll be doing a lunch and learn on the topic this month, as well as a follow up pot luck. I suspect we’ll have to forego the red wine, but we’re excited to bring in a little of the savory flavor of the Mediterranean as one component of our international observance for Global Employee Health and Fitness month (GEHFM).