Sun and sea diet: How the Med's healthy eating habits could add years to your life

More than half of UK holidaymakers say healthier food is now high on their list of holiday must-haves. Two-thirds admitted to putting on weight during their trip, with 5 per cent boarding the plane home up to a stone heavier. This is despite the fact that 60 per cent of over-40s hope to lose weight on their summer break.
But it is more than possible to lose weight on a European holiday - if you chose the right food.

Adopt the habits back home and you could significantly improve your health. Scientists have been studying the benefits of the Mediterranean diet since the 1950s, when research suggested that the diet and lifestyle of those living in countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece could be adding to their life expectancy. The traditional diet is based around starchy carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, potatoes and bread; beans and pulses; fish; and fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, courgettes and peppers, which grow plentifully in the warmer climates.

Generally, vegetables and fruits are low in energy and are good sources of fibre, vitamins, minerals and other bioactive microconstituents. Antioxidants are involved in DNA repair and cell maintenance and they specifically protect DNA and cell membranes against oxidative damage, including that induced by carcinogenic agents. It is therefore biologically plausible that diets rich in antioxidants protect against cancer, says the World Cancer Research Fund.

According to the charity's report, "Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: a global perspective" the fibres found in vegetables and fruits may also protect against cancer.
It is thought that diets high in vegetables and fruits protect against excessive weight gain, which is a risk factor for cancer. The WCRF states that eating a diet that is rich in plant-based foods, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of cancer by up to 40 per cent.
So, which foods should you look for on your next holiday and which foods should you avoid?

Source - Independent

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