Nutrition experts and chefs agree: ‘MediterrAsian’ way of eating is best

Eating the MediterrAsian way has immeasurably improved our health and wellbeing, and it’s also introduced us to a world of wonderful new tastes. That’s why, for over a decade, we’ve been saying to forget restrictive diets and look to Mediterranean and Asian populations for dietary and lifestyle inspiration (people from these regions are, after all, the healthiest and longest living peoples on earth).

And we're not the only ones who are convinced of the benefits of combining traditional Mediterranean and Asian eating practices. Here are some of the nutrition experts and chefs who are also embracing a MediterrAsian way of eating.

Groundbreaking research by German scientists, led by Dr. Gerald Rimbach from the University of Kiel, found that a MediterAsian diet helps activate a special family of genes in the body called sirtuins which play a fundamental role in slowing cellular aging and repairing DNA. Activating sirtuins also helps the body better regulate blood sugar levels, makes cells more resilient to stress, and improves the body’s ability to burn fat for energy. The findings were published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity in 2013.

Professor Eugenio Iorio, Founder and Director of the International Observatory of Oxidative Stress (a non-profit scientific network of more than 3,000 researchers from 35 Countries), is a strong advocate of the MediterrAsian diet. He has held popular lectures about this way of eating, and says that “the ideal paradigm for our health would be a MediterrAsian diet.”

Dr. David Colquhoun from the University of Queensland School of Medicine wrote about the benefits of a MediterrAsian way of eating in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, where he said that a MediterrAsian diet “may be the optimal diet.”

Dr. Mariangela Rondanelli and a team of scientists from the University of Pavia, Italy, conducted a systematic review in 2016 looking at the benefits of combining Mediterranean and Asian foods to improve cholesterol levels. They found that a MediterrAsian diet boosted “good” HDL cholesterol, and reduced heart disease risk. The findings titled “MediterrAsian diet products that could raise HDL cholesterol: a Systematic Review” were published in the journal BioMed Research International in 2016.

Professor Franco Berrino is a world renowned Italian epidemiologist and past Director of The Preventative and Predictive Medicine Department of The National Cancer Institute of Milan. He has contributed to more than 400 peer reviewed published medical papers, and he created the first Cancer registry in Italy. In recent years he’s become convinced that a MediterrAsian diet combined with movement and ‘secular spirituality’ like meditation are the keys to good health and longevity. “With these three elements, we can avert illnesses, even degenerative ones, reduce the incidence of cancers, facilitate recovery from illness, act on our genes, and slow the process of age,” he says.

Dietitian Caroline Fernandes is convinced that a MediterrAsian diet is the best diet for health and longevity. She now recommends her patients follow a MediterrAsian way of eating, and the outcome has been highly positive: “In practice, we observed that patients do not feel they are on a diet, in the restrictive sense of the word, but a transition to a new lifestyle that involves flavors, foods and seasonings with a harmonious blend.”

Virginia Messina is a registered dietitian and author of more than ten books on vegetarian and vegan cooking. She is also an advocate of a MediterrAsian approach to eating, and devotes a section of one of her latest books to a meatless version of a MediterrAsian diet. She also created this visual guide showing how easy it is to enjoy a MediterrAsian diet, even if you don’t eat animal products.

Dr. Antigone Kouris, Adjunct Associate Professor at La Trobe University, is an accredited clinical dietitian with over 30 years experience. She is also a vocal proponent of a MediterrAsian diet and has recently developed a range of MediterrAsian cookies using Mediterranean and Asian inspired ingredients which contain 50 percent less sugar than normal cookies.

Renowned chefs also embracing a MediterrAsian way of eating

Executive chef Tiffany Poe — who collaborated with Food Network star Ree Drummond on three of her New York Times #1 bestselling cookbooks — is helping blaze the trail for MediterrAsian cooking. After reading our book she was inspired to team up with fellow chef, Trey Wilson, and start a MediterrAsian food truck. She was recently appointed as the Clinical Professor of Food Studies at Oklahoma State University, where she continues to spread the word about the health and gastronomic benefits of a MediterrAsian way of eating.

World champion sushi master Pepi Anevski, whose parents are from the Mediterranean region, is a big fan of combining Mediterranean and Asian flavors. He has developed a range of MediterrAsian sushi for the Ocean Basket chain of seafood restaurants (which serve over a million customers a month worldwide) and they have been a smash hit.

Chef Jesse Koide thinks that fusing together Mediterranean and Asian cuisines is a perfect match. His MediterrAsian restaurant, Pink Zebra, was named as one of the top 25 restaurants in the U.S. by GQ magazine in 2015.

Reif Othman, former regional executive chef of Zuma restaurants, has combined his love of Japanese food with his passion for Mediterranean ingredients at the recently opened MediterrAsian restaurant, Play, in Dubai. It’s quickly become one of the most popular restaurants in Dubai, and recently won the title of “Dubai’s best new fine dining restaurant” at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards.