Changes to a Mediterranean diet could improve health

A change to a Mediterranean diet may have health benefits.

Amanda Gowin, a Fulton Rotarian and an instructor in health and exercise sciences at the University of Westminster, discussed how to “eat like a Greek” in a presentation Wednesday at a Fulton Rotary meeting.

Gowin’s background is in nutrition, but she almost became a nurse before teaching because she was accepted into the Mizzou Nursing Program.

Taking a nutrition class inspired Gowin to teach it, she said.

Gowin described the Mediterranean diet, which has been studied for at least 50 years.

“It’s about adding things to our lives that benefit us and help us feel better,” she said, adding that it’s all about balance.

The Mediterranean lifestyle fits well with the American lifestyle, so there are ways to incorporate elements of the Mediterranean lifestyle. Diet has been shown to alter health outcomes, Gowin said.

A Mediterranean diet may be beneficial in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and diabetes.

Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are the cornerstones of the Mediterranean diet, she said.

People on the Mediterranean diet were shown to have less heart disease, which could reverse the heart disease factors, Gowin explained.

Dieting also lowers blood sugar levels and helps you lose weight.

To reduce your chances of developing dementia, eat seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, she said.

Adding foods such as green leafy vegetables, berries, nuts, and half a cup of whole grains can help improve brain and heart health.

“Having a handful of nuts each day has been shown to be beneficial,” said Gowin.

Gowin and her Westminster College students traveled to Greece to learn how the Mediterranean diet could benefit their diet.

Food is an aspect the group paid attention to, she said.

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