I have just returned from a cruise touring some islands of Greece and Italy. I could not help but notice how much energy I felt there. I ate a lot of good food and thought surely I must have eaten enough to sink the ship! However, I was surprised both at how great I felt and that I didn't gain any weight. The diet I chose to eat while I was touring there was the traditional fare of Italy and Greece -- olives, olive oil, seafood and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Study after study has confirmed that eating a Mediterranean diet extends your lifespan and reduces the incidence of heart disease and cancer. According to studies posted in Life Extension magazine, people 60 years of age and older who adhered most closely to the classic Mediterranean diet clearly live longer. These people experienced a 27% lower rate of mortality and a 31% lower rate of cardiac death. Even the incidence of common cancers were reduced. The Mediterranean diet focuses on the following:

* Olives and olive oil which contain many health properties due to their polyphenols which contain antioxidants. Polyphenols increase the healthful benefits of vitamin e levels, decrease bad cholesterol and increase glutathione (a natural antioxidant that aids in detoxification of the body and many other beneficial properties). Olives also reduce inflammation and joint pains.
* Fish and fish oils have numerous health benefits such as preventing cardiovascular disease, reducing inflammation, improving the immune system, maintaining the strength and integrity of the heart, skin, hair and muscles. Fish tends to be a good source of protein and is leaner than other meats like pork and fish. If you take fish oil supplements opt for ones that are molecularly distilled to remove any heavy metal contamination.
* Fresh fruits and vegetables are eaten often. Figs, dates, olives, fresh herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, berries and lemons are eaten regularly. The fresh fruits and vegetables have many health benefits such as being high in antioxidants, rich in vitamins (such as vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin A) and a source of fibre. Study after study has shown that people who have a diet of a higher number of fruits and vegetables have less incidence of heart disease, cancer and also tend to live longer. Your mother was right! You should eat your vegetables.

In Europe, people tend to walk most places. They get much more exercise than a lot of us in North America who are tied to our desks for eight hours a day. Italy as a country has a much lower percentage of obesity rates compared to the United States and Canada. Asian countries are also much leaner due to their diet high in fish, fruits and vegetables.
Of course you don't have to travel the world to adopt those healthy habits and feel more energized, but I highly recommend a Mediterranean cruise if you find yourself needing to be convinced of these lifestyle benefits.

Author's Bio: 

Heather Caruso is a Homeopath from Ontario in private practice for the past ten years plus. She is also the best selling author of the book "Your Drug Free Guide to Digestive Health" and has recently published a new book called "Your Drug Free Guide to Healthy Weight Loss". For more information go to www.carusohomeopathy.com