Healthy Outlook APR 2017 Mediterranean Diet
What does that mean?
Webster defines “Diet” as food and drink regularly consumed. I like this definition as the food and drink we consume IS the diet we are on and making conscience healthy choices is the very best approach we can take. There are certain “diets” that address a specific need such as the Gluten Free diet that addresses Celiac Disease, or certain dietary choices to lose weight. I do believe that even if you do not have Celiac’s there are choices you can derive from their diet that are beneficial to good health. The same with so many diets that are geared towards losing weight. According to the CDC, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. It is not just a question of perception or vanity. We may think it is “normal” to be a little overweight but the health risks that go along with being overweight are very real. Research has shown that obesity can negatively affect cancer treatment outcomes, trigger disease recurrence and shorten longevity. Excess weight can contribute to a variety of health issues, including heart disease and hypertension. Multiple studies show it can also increase one’s chances of developing many different types of cancer, including breast, endometrial kidney, gallbladder, esophagus, pancreas, thyroid and colon. A, B
Now even without a disorder or health concern there are good choices and great research that we can derive from many diets on the market today. Basic choices like eating more whole fruits and vegetables, less fats, less sugars and eliminating processed foods. I am going to dive into the Mediterranean Diet in this issue because I believe there is so many healthy choices there and virtually every degenerative disease can be favorably influenced by dietary intervention. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that following a Mediterranean diet contributed to a 30% reduction in the combined risk of acute heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
A Mediterranean diet emphasizes:
Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetable, whole grains, legumes and nuts
Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
Enjoying meals with family and friends
Drinking red wine in moderation
Getting plenty of exercise
Medical Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. The diet has been associated with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol – the “bad” cholesterol that is more likely to build up deposits in your arteries. The Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer. For these reasons, most if not all major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt a style of eating like that of the Mediterranean diet for prevention of major chronic diseases.
Fruits, Vegetables Nuts and Grains
The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes fruit, vegetables, pasta and rice. For example, residents of Greece eat very little red meat and average nine servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain few unhealthy trans fats. Bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil – not eaten with butter or margarines, which contain saturated or trans fats. Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat but most of the fat is not saturated. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts, generally not more than a handful a day. C
Antioxidant-Rich Fruits and Vegetables
|Nuts||Legumes||Red Peppers||Citrus Fruits|
Are you saying to yourself; “There’s no way I can eat 9 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, every day!” There IS a supplement that you can add to your efforts that will help you catch up on your fruits and vegetables. It’s called Mediterranean Whole Food Blend and its packed with pomegranate, grape seed, artichoke, olive leaf, walnut, pecan and lentil extracts.
The focus of the Mediterranean diet isn’t on limiting total fat consumption, but rather to make wise choices about the types of fat you eat. The Mediterranean diet discourages saturated fats and hydrogenated oils, both of which contribute to heart disease. Olive oil is the primary source of fat, extra-virgin and virgin are the least processed forms of olive oil and contain the highest levels of protective plant compounds that provide antioxidants effects. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats such as canola oil and some nut oils contain the beneficial linolenic acid, these omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides. Fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish is eaten on a regular basis in the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet typically includes a moderate amount of wine. This means no more than 5 ounces daily over the age of 65 and no more than 10 ounces daily under the age of 65.
The Mediterranean diet is not a panacea. But what we put in our bodies is so very important and there are great choices made in the Mediterranean Diet that I absolutely loved sharing with you. The Mediterranean diet along with daily exercise will certainly result in a healthier and happier you.
WEbMD, CURE, Mayo Clinic