The Atlantic Diet Promotes Mental Well-Being, Physical Activity & Longevity
If you've ever researched Blue Zones, centenarians, or tips to live a long happy life, you've undoubtedly come across the Mediterranean diet. This popular approach to food (and life in general) has gained global attention and widespread acclaim.
But recently, we've come across another intriguing European diet that approaches health and well-being in a similar fashion to the Mediterranean diet. According to a recent review from 1Advances in Nutrition1, the Southern European Atlantic diet boasts serious longevity benefits and can even invoke positive epigenetic changes.
What is the Southern European Atlantic diet?
The Southern European Atlantic diet (aka the Atlantic diet) focuses on the traditional food and lifestyle habits of northern Portugal and northwestern Spain. Both the nutrients found in the foods of the Atlantic diet and the way they're prepared result in high biological value (i.e., they're bioavailable and easy and effective for the body's use).
Staple foods of the Atlantic diet include:
- Daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and dairy products
- Weekly consumption of seafood (especially cod and other fish), eggs, dried fruits, legumes, and lean meats (e.g., beef, pork, and poultry)
- Occasional consumption of fatty meats and sweets
If you compare the food pyramids of the Atlantic diet and the Mediterranean diet, you'll find immense similarities. Both diets prioritize mostly plant-based meals that occasionally include animal products—such as omega-3-laden fresh fish, lean meats, eggs, and dairy.
While many of these foods (e.g., legumes, whole grains, fish, fruits, and vegetables) provide a myriad of healthy fats, phytonutrients, and antioxidants that promote whole-body health and well-being, the lifestyle habits are what truly empower people of this region to live long, happy lives.
How the Atlantic diet promotes graceful aging.
The inhabitants of northern Portugal and northwestern Spain are certainly living life to the fullest—and as it turns out, these healthy lifestyle habits translate into a longer life expectancy. According to the Advances in Nutrition review, following the Atlantic diet likely supports epigenetic mechanisms that help promote healthy aging.
Here are some main principles of the Atlantic diet that have a positive impact on epigenetics, cardiovascular function, and longevity:
- Gastronomy: By choosing, cooking, and eating locally available, healthy, and plant-centric foods, folks in this region are consuming a well-balanced diet filled with macro-, micro-, and phytonutrients to promote whole-body health.
- Hydration: Abundant water consumption is key to supporting the body's detox pathways and flushing out toxins, both of which contribute to graceful aging.
- Physical activity: The Atlantic diet encourages daily physical activity—whether in the form of exercise or simply staying active and incorporating movement throughout the day.
- Psychological well-being: Enjoying mealtime, often with family and friends, is an important part of the Atlantic diet. Making time to socialize and revel in the pleasures of food (and, commonly, a glass of wine with meals) is a fantastic way to help bolster mental and emotional well-being and add both life to your years and years to your life.
The bottom line.
Research on the Atlantic diet confirms what we at mbg know to be true: Feeding your body with nutrient-dense foods and nourishing your mind and soul with rich experiences leads to a happy, healthy life.
We believe that healthy, graceful aging should be a top priority, which is why we included 14 vitamins, 13 minerals, and six longevity botanical bioactives (that's 33 active ingredients, in case you were counting) with potent antioxidant actions, plus heart, brain, vision, beauty, and immune support in our premium, vegan multivitamin formula.* To biohack healthspan, learn more about mbg's longevity-promoting supplement here.*
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.