A recent article in WebMD states that women(I'm sure the same would apply to men too) on a Mediterranean Diet have significantly less chances of developing heart disease and stroke!
Let's analyze the ingredients for the Mediterranean Diet mentioned on WebMD and see where the typical Indian Diet goes wrong.
Mediterranean Diet: Fresh,healthy food
Indian Diet: Though we do eat lots of different varieties of vegetables,most Indians tend to overcook the vegetables which inturn reduces the nutritional values. You could try to add vegetables in dishes that normally doesn't include a vegetable(like grated carrots in phulkas, mixed vegetables in kichidi,uppmas,etc) and also include salads with every meal.
Mediterranean Diet: Portion control
Indian Diet: No portion control at all. We tend to eat till we 'feel full'. We need to keep in mind that too much of even the good things are not recommended. To get an idea of portion control,check out these slides.
Mediterranean Diet: Healthy fats and olive oil
Indian Diet: We still use saturated fats like ghee/butter/coconut oil and trans-fat(hydrogenated vegetable oils like vanaspati)in our cooking. The general belief in most houses is that unless you drown the food in oil,it doesn't taste good!!
Olive oil is expensive,but you can switch to using small amounts of oils like peanut oil,canola oil,safflower oil,soybean oil for your cooking(you could try getting a different oil each month to get the benefits of each one). The trick is to use just about a teaspoon of oil for cooking the entire dish(use non-stick pans/kadai).
Mediterranean Diet: Omega-3 fatty acids
Indian Diet: Most Indians don't eat fish,and those who do normally prefer it fried. The best way would be to eat fish in a curry or bake/broil it. Vegeterians can get their dose of omega-3's from walnuts,flax seed(and oil), pumpkin seeds, soyabeans(and soy oil) and from canola and olive oils.
Mediterranean Diet: More vegetables,less meat.
Indian Diet: Earlier this was the scene among non-vegetarian Indians,but in the recent past the trend seems to have reversed. The best thing would be to eat lean meat not more than once (or at the most,twice) a week and stick to eating more vegetables and legumes the rest of the week.
Mediterranean Diet: Wine in small amounts( 3 ounces/80 ml)
Indian Diet: Though wine does have it's benefits,it should not serve as an excuse for consuming it. You'd still get the benefits by drinking plain grape juice!
Mediterranean Diet: Whole grains.
Indian Diet: Refined foods with no nutritive values like refined flour(maida),sugar, polished rice have replaced healthy foods like whole wheat flour, jaggery, unpolished rice. Avoid (or reduce the frequency) of using these and stick to whole grains and legumes(but keep in mind the portion sizes).
Mediterranean Diet: Fruit for dessert.
Indian Diets: Desserts for us would mean 'gulab jamuns', or 'jalebis' or atleast 'kheer'. These are not just high in sugar,but most are high in oil/ghee. Eating plain fruits for dessert or even as a snack will definetly require lots of will power.
If we could just make these changes in our daily diet and exercise regularly,there would be no need for us to adopt a foreign cuisine in the name of health(and then maybe a few years/centuries down the line,researchers would advocate the Indian Diet)!!