Changes to a Mediterranean diet could improve health

Changes to a Mediterranean diet could be beneficial to one's health.

Amanda Gowin, Fulton Rotarian and Westminster College instructor of health and exercise science, discussed ways on how to "eat like a Greek" during a presentation Wednesday at a Fulton Rotary meeting.

Gowin's background is in nutrition, but she almost became a nurse before teaching as she was accepted into the Mizzou nursing program.

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

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

"It's about adding things into our life that can help benefit our life to help make us feel better," she said, adding it's about balance.

The Mediterranean way of life can fit well with the American lifestyle, so there are ways to include components of the Mediterranean lifestyle. The diet been shown to change health outcomes, Gowin said.

A Mediterranean diet can be beneficial to prevent Alzheimer's disease, depression, and diabetes, she said.

Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are at the foundation of a Mediterranean diet, she said. When looking at the top of the food pyramid for the diet, there are less animal products.

Those who do the Mediterranean diet are shown to have less heart disease and could have a reversal of heart disease factors, Gowin explained.

The diet can also help lower blood sugars and have weight reduction.

To reduce chances of getting dementia, it's good to have seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, she said.

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

"Having a handful a nuts each day has been shown to be helpful," Gowin said.

Gowin and her students at Westminster College have traveled to Greece and have learned about the ways the Mediterranean diet is beneficial to one's diet.

The food is an aspect the group paid attention to, she said. Little changes in the diet can make an impact over time.