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What is the Mediterranean Diet? Recipes, Food List, and Meal Plan

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A panel of nutrition and weight-loss experts at U.S. News & World Report have named the Mediterranean diet the best overall diet for four years running, most recently crowning it the very best diet of 2021. While other top diets are often quite specific — the DASH Diet, for example, focuses on cardiovascular health and blood pressure — the Mediterranean diet can seem less structured. That’s because it’s more of a way of eating than it is a strict weight loss program. Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian in the Good Housekeeping Institute, says she thinks of the Mediterranean diet as more of a lifestyle inspired by cultures in Greece, Spain, Italy, France, among others: “It’s an approach to cooking that emphasizes vegetables, naturally leading to a ton of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in your diet,” she explains.

Unlike other fad diets, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t require you to completely cut out any of your favorites (yes, red wine included!). The diet is rich in produce, whole grains, and lean protein, supplying tons of antioxidants and heart-healthy unsaturated fats (think: olive oil rather than butter). You’ll find that those following the Mediterranean diet enjoy plenty of fatty fish (especially salmon, which is considered a staple) alongside whole grain sides like farro, plenty of rich, crisp vegetables, and a dash of supercharged legumes, nuts, and seeds.

The Mediterranean lifestyle quickly rose to fame among doctors back in 2013 after a team at the University of Barcelona studied more than 7,000 participants that drastically improved their heart health after adopting the diet. The scientific evidence of the diet’s effectiveness has piled up since then; a study published in the BMJ journal Gut found that elderly individuals may vastly improve brain function and their own longevity by adopting the Mediterranean diet. Evidence suggests that this dietary routine can fight inflammation as we age, stopping the production of chemicals in the body that are known to contribute to cognitive decline. Plus, the diet may also prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes.

If you’re already sold on giving the Mediterranean diet a try but don’t know where to start, this collection of heart-healthy recipes is for you. Here’s how to start the Mediterranean diet, with R.D.-approved ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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About the Mediterranean Diet

What makes the Mediterranean diet so great is that it’s a lifestyle, not a traditional weight-loss plan. This meal plan won’t have you counting calories or measuring portions (snooze), nor should any Mediterranean diet you attempt. You’ll fill up on tons of veggies, fruit, 100% whole grains, and beans; choose lean protein like seafood and eggs; and enjoy sweets and alcohol as indulgences. The benefit of eating this way is that it emphasizes real, whole foods and limits ultra-processed ones, which tend to be higher in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar. Since the Mediterranean eating style prioritizes the fun and enjoyment of your whole dining experience, flavorful ingredients are at the forefront — so you’ll never feel deprived. While this diet is renowned by nearly all leading experts, it’s always best to talk about the pros and cons of a longterm diet with your doc — be sure to bring this up at your next check in if you decide to stick with it.

Monday: Lunch

In a bowl, combine 7 1/2 ounces (half a 15-ounce can) canned chickpeas (rinse in a colander for two minutes to remove excess sodium and drain well; save other half for Tuesday’s snack), 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/4 cup chopped white onion, 1/4 cup chopped green pepper (save the rest of the onion and pepper for dinner), 1 tablespoon sliced black olives, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar. Mix thoroughly. Serve mixture over 2 cups romaine lettuce leaves.

Monday: Snack

Spread one slice of 100% whole-grain bread or 2 whole-grain flatbread crackers with 2 tablespoons hummus, drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and add salt, pepper, or other seasonings to taste.

Monday: Dinner

Slice remainder of white onion and green pepper from lunch into chunks; set out 10 grape tomatoes. Alternate pieces of onion, pepper, and cherry tomatoes on skewers and grill. Serve with 5 ounces of grilled salmon and one 6-inch whole-wheat pita pocket. Spread pita with 2 tablespoons hummus. Finish with 1 cup fat-free milk.

Tuesday: Breakfast

In a clear, wide-mouth glass, layer 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt with 1 cup raspberries and 1/3 cup lower sugar granola, like KIND Peanut Butter Clusters.

Tuesday: Lunch

Eat one Freshé pack (the canned tuna salad comes in flavorful varieties like Provence Nicoise and Sicilian Caponata) with a piece of fruit.

Tuesday: Snack

Make this hummus in advance and have half the recipe today, and save the rest for Wednesday’s snack (or top it with an egg for breakfast fun!). Use remaining chickpeas from Monday’s lunch (half a 15-ounce can). Mash the chickpeas lightly in a bowl with a fork. Mix in 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin. Mash all ingredients together thoroughly or, if a smoother spread is desired, use a food processor to blend the ingredients. Bring along 1 cup broccoli florets and 1 sliced pepper for dipping.

Tuesday: Dinner

Slice a 6-inch French baguette roll in half lengthwise. Sprinkle the halves with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and bake in toaster oven at 250 degrees for four to six minutes, until cheese is just beginning to melt. Meanwhile, slice two large red tomatoes. Remove baguette from toaster oven, sprinkle with a little dried basil and dried oregano if desired. Top with tomato slices. For dessert, enjoy 1 ounce of dark chocolate.

Wednesday: Breakfast

Today, make half of this Chive and Goat Cheese Frittata recipe. Serve half of the frittata now, and refrigerate the rest for Thursday dinner. Enjoy with an 8-ounce latte with skim or unsweetened soy milk.

Wednesday: Lunch

Spread two slices of whole-wheat bread with 1/2 avocado and stuff with 3 ounces sliced turkey breast, 5 artichoke hearts, and as much sliced red pepper as you want. Serve with a cup each of baby carrots and grapes.

Wednesday: Snack

Use remaining chickpea spread from Tuesday’s snack. Bring along sliced crudité plus a 1-ounce piece of cheese.

Wednesday: Dinner

Today, make half of this Mediterranean Grilled Sea Bass recipe and reserve half of that for Thursday lunch. Increase your vegetable intake by serving half a bag of baby arugula leaves with this meal (save the other half for Thursday). Add one ear of corn and 1 cup cooked sugar snap peas topped with 2 teaspoons butter on the side. For dessert, have one frozen fruit popsicle (about 80 calories or less).

Thursday: Breakfast

Make 1 cup of oatmeal (like Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved McCann’s Irish Oatmeal) and add ½ cup milk and hot water as desired. Serve with 1 cup fresh berries and sprinkle of cinnamon. Add a drizzle of raw honey for sweetness if needed.

Thursday: Lunch

Serve remaining sea bass from Wednesday’s dinner over rest of the baby arugula leaves.

Thursday: Snack

Mix 1/2 cup 0% plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon light maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Dip fresh crudité in this sweet, creamy dip.

Thursday: Dinner

Have the rest of the frittata from Wednesday’s breakfast. Serve with 2 cups baby spinach leaves, topped with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and 1 cup fat-free milk. Have one slice of whole-wheat toast topped with 2 teaspoons butter. For dessert, have a single-serve ice cream, like a Magnum Mini Bar.

Friday: Breakfast

Top 2 slices of 100% whole-grain bread with 2 tablespoons of nut butter and 1/2 sliced banana. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon for extra flavor.

Friday: Lunch

Mix together 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt with 1/2 finely chopped cucumber, 1/2 minced garlic clove, and a shake of salt and pepper if desired. Spread half of yogurt sauce (save remaining sauce for later use) on a 100% whole-grain sandwich thin (like Arnold’s) or pita and eat with a cup or more of veggies.

Friday: Snack

Munch on a 1. 5-ounce bag of roasted chickpeas, like Biena Honey-Roasted Chickpea Snacks.

Saturday: Breakfast

Whip up 2 eggs any style with 1/3 sliced avocado and 1 piece 100% whole-grain bread.

Saturday: Lunch

Top one half of a Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Green Giant Cauliflower Pizza Crust with tons of veggies (leftovers or whatever you feel like) and 1/2 cup mix of part-skim shredded cheese. Eat with a green salad (at least 2 cups) topped with 2 tablespoons regular dressing, any variety. For dessert, have one scoop of your favorite ice cream in a plain cone.

Saturday: Snack

Combine 1/2 fresh orange and 1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned and drained) with 6 ounces Greek yogurt for a fruity smoothie. Blend in a food processor or blender, dropping in ice cubes as desired.

Saturday: Dinner

At your favorite Greek restaurant, order sautéed or grilled shrimp or salmon with an extra order of veggies. Split an app with your table and skip the bread basket. Enjoy with a glass of wine or spirit on the rocks.

Sunday: Breakfast

Top a 100% whole-grain bagel thin with 1/3 cup fat-free ricotta cheese mixed with 1 tablespoon each peanut butter and honey. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon raisins on top.

Sunday: Lunch

Make this wild rice and egg bowl. Grab a skillet and cook one egg, then add 2 cups spinach and season with salt and pepper. Serve on top of Minute Rice Multi-Grain Medley.

Sunday: Dinner

Marinate 6 ounces of shrimp in a basil marinade for at least 30 minutes or overnight. To make basil marinade: Whisk together 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/8 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil. Grill shrimp until cooked through. Top 2 cups of romaine lettuce with the shrimp and mix well into greens for added flavor. Serve with 1 cup blueberries and enjoy 1 ounce chocolate (about 4 Dove Miniatures) for dessert.

What Should I Be Drinking?

Stay hydrated by sipping on the following calorie-free drinks at anytime: Water, seltzer, and unsweetened tea and black coffee.

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A practical guide to the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet has received much attention as a healthy way to eat, and with good reason. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain cancers, depression, and in older adults, a decreased risk of frailty, along with better mental and physical function. In January, US News and World Report named it the “best diet overall” for the second year running.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The traditional Mediterranean diet is based on foods available in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The foundation for this healthy diet includes

  • an abundance of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, which are minimally processed, seasonally fresh, and grown locally
  • olive oil as the principal source of fat
  • cheese and yogurt, consumed daily in low to moderate amounts
  • fish and poultry, consumed in low to moderate amounts a few times a week
  • red meat, consumed infrequently and in small amounts
  • fresh fruit for dessert, with sweets containing added sugars or honey eaten only a few times each week
  • wine consumed in low to moderate amounts, usually with meals.

How to bring the Mediterranean diet to your plate

How can you incorporate these healthy foods into your everyday life? Here are some small changes you can make. Pick one change every week and incorporate it gradually. Start with the changes you think will be the easiest.

  • Switch from whatever fats you use now to extra virgin olive oil. Start by using olive oil in cooking, and then try some new salad dressings with olive oil as the base. Finally, use olive oil in place of butter on your crusty bread.
  • Eat nuts and olives. Consume a handful of raw nuts every day as a healthy replacement for processed snacks.
  • Add whole-grain bread or other whole grains to the meal. Select dense, chewy, country-style loaves without added sugar or butter. Experiment with bulgur, barley, farro, couscous, and whole-grain pasta.
  • Begin or end each meal with a salad. Choose crisp, dark greens and whatever vegetables are in season.
  • Add more and different vegetables to the menu. Add an extra serving of vegetables to both lunch and dinner, aiming for three to four servings a day. Try a new vegetable every week.
  • Eat at least three servings a week of legumes. Options include lentils, chickpeas, beans, and peas.
  • Eat less meat. Choose lean poultry in moderate, 3- to 4-ounce portions. Save red meat for occasional consumption or use meat as a condiment, accompanied by lots of vegetables, as in stews, stir-fries, and soups. Eat more fish, aiming for two to three servings a week. Both canned and fresh fish are fine.
  • Substitute wine in moderation for other alcoholic beverages. Replace beer or liquors with wine — no more than two 5-ounce glasses per day for men, and one glass per day for women.
  • Cut out sugary beverages. Replace soda and juices with water.
  • Eat less high-fat, high-sugar desserts. Poached or fresh fruit is best. Aim for three servings of fresh fruit a day. Save cakes and pastries for special occasions.
  • Seek out the best quality food available. Farmer’s markets are an excellent source of locally grown, seasonal foods.

Finally, try to have dinner as a family as often as possible. Food as a communal, shared experience is a big part of the Mediterranean approach.

Mediterranean all day

There are many ways to incorporate the delicious foods of the Mediterranean diet into your daily menu. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Breakfast:

  • whole-grain bread topped with a small amount of low-fat cheese and slices of fresh tomato, drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil
  • vegetable omelet made with mushrooms, spinach, and onions cooked in olive oil with crusty whole-grain bread
  • plain Greek yogurt topped with nuts and fresh berries.

Lunch:

  • Greek salad made with chopped mixed greens, kalamata olives, tomatoes, fresh parsley, feta cheese. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon
  • chickpea and farro salad with red peppers, spring onions, and fresh oregano, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice
  • vegetarian pizza topped with part-skim mozzarella cheese, roasted broccoli, onions, green peppers, and carrots.

Dinner:

  • grilled vegetable kabobs with shrimp, toasted quinoa salad, and mixed green salad with pine nuts
  • chicken stir-fried in olive oil with broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and yellow peppers, served over brown rice
  • steamed mussels with spinach-orzo salad and minestrone soup.

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Study Finds Amazing Health Benefits of “Green” Mediterranean Diet

More good news for anyone trying to eat a more plant-based approach for their health: In a new study published in the journal Heart, researchers found that a modified “greener” version of the Mediterranean diet resulted in both weight loss and improved cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors in nearly 300 moderately overweight and sedentary individuals.

The participants were divided into three groups and given slightly different diets: “healthy diet guidelines, versus the traditional Mediterranean diet, versus the “greener” Mediterranean diet with less animal protein and more plant-based protein, all with virtually the same calories and exercise. The groups on both the conventional Mediterranean diet and the “green” Mediterranean diet did the best, and the greener diet did better than the one with more animal protein.

The green Mediterranean diet included three to four cups of green tea a day, and a 3-4 cups/day) and 100 grams of a plant protein shake, which partially substituted for the animal protein of the groups not on the green diet. After 6 months those on the greener version of the Mediterranean diet ended up losing the most weight and having the best outcomes, when doctors looked at markers for heart disease.

The study is called: “The effect of green Mediterranean diet on cardiometabolic risk; a randomized controlled trial

For Years the Mediterranean Diet Was the Gold Standard. A “Green” Version is Better

No one disputes that the Mediterranean diet is healthy, and for years it was considered the gold standard for healthy eating. The diet—which emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats like nuts and olive oil —also includes fish and a reduced amount of meat and poultry consumption.

Recently, a mostly plant-based approach started to show up in research as having the ability to not just halt heart disease and other chronic ailments, but reverse the course of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and more. According to leading cardiologists and researchers such as Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Andrew Freeman and others, switching patients to a plant-based diet have helped them to reversed signs of coronary heart disease, go off medications, and avoid surgery when they go on a plant-based diet.

So the question of whether the Mediterranean Diet goes far enough is a relevant one. According to Dr. Joel Kahn, who spoke to The Beet previously about the fact that a plant-based approach is optimal, the reason doctors recommend Mediterranean diet is that it may be too hard to get patients to comply with a stricter plant-based approach. But if your goal is optimal health, this study appears to show that a greener, more plant-based diet is best.

The “green” Mediterranean diet “supplemented [the regular Mediterranean diet] with walnuts, green tea and Mankai [a plant-based protein source from duckweed],” and was found to be even better for the participants’ health than the standard Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean Diet, based on higher consumption of plant-based foods, has been proved to be better than the previously widely recommended low-fat diet for a reduction in cardiometabolic risk and prevention of cardiovascular diseases,” said study author Dr. Gal Tsaban, a researcher at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center, and her colleagues, per Sci – News.

“Our findings suggest that additional restriction of meat intake with a parallel increase in plant-based, protein-rich foods, may further benefit the cardiometabolic state and reduce cardiovascular risk, beyond the known beneficial effects of the traditional Mediterranean diet,” the researchers concluded, reminding us to encourage the part-time plant-based eaters in our life to consider further reducing their meat intake to improve their health.

More simply put, as The Nutrition Twins Tammy Lakatos Shames, R.D.N., C.D.N., C.F.T., C.L.T., and Lyssie Lakatos, R.D.N., C.D.N., C.F.T., C.L.T., summarize the study findings: “We already know that following a Mediterranean-style diet is healthier than most other diets,” they say. “But this study shows that we may be able to step up our health game, our heart health and lose more weight when we cut out red meat, and possibly even more so when we cut out chicken and fish and amp up the vegetables and vegetarian protein.

Mediterranean Diet Becomes Even Healthier When Focused More Heavily on Plants

To recap, the green Mediterranean diet is a riff on the traditional Mediterranean diet, which focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, spices, herbs, and olive oil, and minimizes animal protein sources.“It encourages plant-based protein to take the place of animal-based protein, by focusing on legumes, nuts, and seeds,” The Nutrition Twins add.

Of course, the positive health benefits of going vegan are well researched (here are just a few!) and this style of plant-based eating seems particularly promising for its impact on cardiovascular health and weight loss. “This vegan way of eating ‘green’ Mediterranean can prove especially beneficial when it comes to weight loss because it boosts fiber intake, which can greatly increase satiety and reduce hunger and calorie intake,” explain The Nutrition Twins, adding that a serving of steak, fish, or chicken, contains virtually no fiber, “but a ¾ -cup of protein-rich beans has the filling combination of protein and 22 grams of fiber or more,” they continue, citing this study from Food Nutrition Research which found that meals based on vegetable protein sources are more satiating than those with animal protein sources.

“Also, fiber promotes good bacteria which also is helpful when it comes to weight loss,” the duo points out. (Just check out this 2019 research presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes that found a vegan diet can boost gut microbes involved in body weight, weight body consumption, and blood sugar control.)

So how can you make the green Mediterranean diet work for you? The Nutrition Twins break down a day’s worth of sample meals:

A Sample Day of Eating the Green Mediterranean Diet

Breakfast: One cup whole-grain oats with cinnamon, blueberries, shredded almonds, hemp seeds, and honey.

Lunch: One cup quinoa with chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, olives, toasted sunflower seeds, oregano, and thyme, or a kale, cucumber and tomato salad with olive oil and lemon.

Snack: A small serving of nuts and grapes.

Dinner: Oven-roasted tempeh, carrots, artichoke, sweet potato, eggplant, and carrot (pre-marinated in oil and heavy herbs) with one cup of wild rice.

Snack: One piece of avocado toast topped with slivered almonds.

Pretty doable-sounding, if you ask us. Just add a square of dark chocolate or two, and we’re in heaven. Who’s ready to get started?

Mediterranean Diet | Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology

Updated 09/21/2018
Category: Diet

A well-planned diet plays a major role in keeping the body fit and preventing illness. In the United States, the food guide pyramid is the regular diet recommended for healthy people over two years of age. In other parts of the world, agriculture, climate, and cultural differences influence what foods people eat and how those foods are prepared. Yet, these diets may also be healthy. Prior to the 1,960s, for example, in countries around the Mediterranean sea — parts of Italy, Greece, France, Spain, Portugal, and north Africa — chronic disease rates were low and adult life expectancy, high. However, the economies of these countries have changed in the past 50 years. Their diets have become more like the American diet, and certain disease rates have also increased, suggesting that their traditional diets were healthier. Based on extensive scientific research to identify what was healthy about those pre-1,960 diets, a different type of regular diet — the Mediterranean diet — has been developed.

Nutrition Facts

This diet is adequate in all the nutrients needed by most healthy adults. However, the diet may need to be altered for children, people with certain medical conditions, or women during pregnancy. A physician or registered dietitian should be consulted in those cases.

Some Food Sources of Fiber
Insoluble Fiber Soluble Fiber
Whole grains; including wheat, rye, brown rice, bran, and cereals Citrus fruits
Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower Strawberries
Root vegetables Oatmeal
Dried peas and beans Dried beans and other legumes
Apples Apples

Foods Eaten Daily

It is also very important to maintain variety and minimal processed foods. Every meal should include choices from each daily food group. For example, a good breakfast is not just oatmeal or a piece of whole wheat toast. It should also include fruit, and perhaps nuts or low-fat yogurt. A lunch or main meal in North Africa might include a combination of couscous, vegetables, and legumes. In Italy, it might be pasta or polenta with vegetables and legumes. Nuts and seeds are often included in recipes, and dessert is usually fresh fruit. Choose seasonally fresh and locally grown fruits and vegetables when possible, and use whole grain foods. Processing of foods can remove important nutrients. For example, when grains are refined, fiber is lost.

Fiber is the indigestible part of plants. There are two types: Insoluble fiber, such as wheat bran, does not dissolve in water, so it helps the body to regulate bowel function by adding bulk. Soluble fiber is the type found in certain grains, beans, and in many fruits. It does dissolve in water and forms a sticky gel that may sweep harmful substances from the intestines. There is evidence that soluble fiber helps to reduce cholesterol levels, and may decrease the risk of developing certain cancers. So, it is recommended that people eat 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day, which should include both soluble and insoluble fibers.

Fruits and vegetables: Choose a variety of whole fresh fruits over canned and frozen, which often contain large amounts of added sugar. Whole fruits contain more fiber than is found in fruit juice, but if choosing fruit juice, make sure it is 100% fruit juice.

Choose a wide variety of vegetables to get a balance of the nutrients they provide. Select dark green leafy vegetables over light green. Romaine lettuce, for example, has about six times as much vitamin C and eight times as much beta carotene as iceberg lettuce. Eat vegetables raw when possible, however cooked vegetables can also be nutritious. Do not over-cook. Sometimes the method of preparation helps to preserve or enhance nutrients. For example, vitamin C-rich vegetables lose half of the vitamin when boiled, but only 15% when microwaved.

Nuts and Legumes (peas and beans) are good sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein, and can be used in place of meat. A half cup of cooked dried beans has many of the benefits of one ounce of meat, but none of the saturated fat found in meat. Small amounts of nuts and seeds are also good choices for calcium, zinc, and protein. They do contain more fat than legumes, but most of the fat is unsaturated fat. Coconut, however, is very high in saturated fat and should be avoided.

Olive Oil and Total Fat: Olive oil is the principal fat in the Mediterranean diet. To understand why this is a healthy fat choice, it helps to know something about fats and cholesterol.

Cholesterol> is a waxy, fat-like substance needed for important functions in the body. However, too much cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of heart disease. Cholesterol is found in foods from animal sources, because animals produce cholesterol in their bodies, just as the human body does. In fact, the human body produces all the cholesterol it needs. This is why it is recommended that dietary cholesterol be limited to an average of 300 milligrams (mg) or less a day. A certain amount of fat is also needed in a healthy diet, to supply energy and a few nutrients. However, too much fat in the diet can increase the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. There are different kinds of fat in foods, and some types are worse than others.

Saturated fats are found in dairy products made with whole milk and in meat. Some meats contain more saturated fat than others: beef more than chicken. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Some vegetable fats such as coconut, cocoa butter (found in chocolate), palm and palm kernel oils are also saturated. The liver uses certain nutrients, and especially saturated fats, as the building blocks of cholesterol. Therefore, eating too much saturated fat raises blood cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease.

Hydrogenated oils is a term often found in food labels. Through a manufacturing process, liquid vegetable oils can be made to stay solid at room temperature. Therefore, they act as saturated fats and should be avoided in the diet.

Unsaturated fats, found mostly in plants, are liquid at room temperature. They are less likely to cause heart disease. Polyunsaturated fats are found in safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils and in some fish. Recent research shows that monounsaturated fats found in olive, peanut, and canola oils may even lower cholesterol.

It is recommended that a healthy diet have only 30% of the total daily calories in fat, and saturated fat should be only 1/3 of that amount. Prior to the 1,960s, the Mediterranean diets averaged about 30% to 35% fat and the principal fat used was olive oil. Their rates of heart disease were as much as 90% lower than those in the U.S. So, it seems reasonable that olive oil may be a healthier fat choice in the diet. However, do not add olive oil to other sources of fat; instead use it to replace them.

Foods Eaten a Few Times a Week

Foods from animal sources are used very little in the Mediterranean countries. Proteins are required for growth and normal development of the body. However, as previously mentioned, protein can be obtained in lower-fat food choices than meat. Children, teenagers, and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, should consult their physicians about protein requirements. For other adults following the Mediterranean diet, fish and poultry may be eaten a few times a week. Ocean fish and shellfish contain high concentrations of certain oils that can reduce the risk of heart disease. Fish oil supplements are not recommended; they add too many calories to the diet.

Eggs: Mediterraneans traditionally eat no more than four eggs per week, including those used in baking and preparing foods. Eggs are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Use only one yolk per person in egg dishes, and substitute egg whites if more eggs are called for.

Sweets and desserts: Mediterraneans favor fresh fruit for dessert. They eat sweets with large amounts of sugar and saturated fats only a few times a week and in small amounts. Added sugar (in processing, preparing, or at the table) increases calories without providing nutrients. Sugars include white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, honey, and molasses. Foods like soft drinks, candy, ice cream, jams, jellies, chocolate milk, and fruits canned in heavy syrups are high in sugar and should by limited in the diet.

Foods Eaten a Few Times a Month

Red Meat should be eaten only a few times a month. It may be used a little more often in very small amounts, to flavor pasta sauces or soups, for example. There is evidence that too much red meat in the diet may contribute not only to heart disease, but also to certain types of cancer. No more than 12 to 16 ounces of red meat should be eaten each month. Choose lean cuts and trim away visible fat. Broil, roast, or bake instead of pan frying.

Special Considerations

  1. Physical Activity: Extensive research shows that regular physical activity helps to control weight and provides other health benefits. Walking and bicycling, for example, are typical methods of getting from place to place in many parts of the Mediterranean, and some form of regular physical activity or exercise is an important part of the Mediterranean diet.
  2. Diet related lifestyle habits in the Mediterranean may contribute to good health. Mealtime is not rushed; people usually relax at the table, sharing food and conversation with family and friends. This helps to reduce stress and improve the body’s ability to digest foods and absorb nutrients.

Drinking wine:

In some parts of the Mediterranean, wine is enjoyed in moderation, usually with a leisurely meal. Some medical studies have indicated that a glass of red wine each day may produce benefits for the cardiovascular system. Although excessive alcohol intake is the cause of many health problems, one or two glasses of wine a day for men and one glass for women may provide benefits when taken with a meal. It is always a good idea to get the advice of a physician on this matter. Furthermore, if you are a non-drinker, do not begin to use alcohol just for this uncertain benefit.

Sample Menu

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

  • cereal 3/4 cup
  • skim milk 1/2 cup
  • banana 1
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • whole wheat toast
    1 slice
  • olive oil 1/2 tbsp
  • sliced almonds 1/2 oz
  • lentil soup 1 cup
  • hard roll 1
  • olive oil 1/2 tbsp
  • spinach 1 cup
  • romaine lettuce 1 cup
  • chopped mushrooms 1/4 cup
  • radishes 2
  • balsamic vinegar
    1/2 oz
  • pasta 1 1/2 cup
  • tomato 1/2 cup
  • broccoli 1/2 cup
  • squash/zucchini
    1/2 cup
  • sweet peppers
    1/4 cup
  • chopped mushrooms 1/4 cup
  • olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Parmesan cheese
    1 tbsp
  • white beans 1/2 cup
  • red wine vinegar
    1/2 oz
  • garlic 1 clove
  • whole wheat bread
    1 slice
  • grapes 1/2 cup

Snack

  • plain yogurt 1 cup
  • blueberries 1/2 cup
This Sample Diet Provides the Following
Calories

2,000

Fat

73 gm

Protein

37 gm

Fiber

34 gm

Carbohydrates

284 gm

Calcium

1,293 gm

 

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  • Two “Diets” Worth Trying: Mediterranean & Flexitarian

    By Caroline L. Young, MS, RDN, LD, RYT

     

    I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who is not an advocate for extreme diets that cut out whole food groups. But there are two eating patterns I can get behind: Flexitarian and Mediterranean. I view them as eating patterns because they are relatively sustainable and health-promoting. Both the Mediterranean and Flexitarian diets include all food groups and provide more variety than fad diets. 

    “Both the flexitarian and Mediterranean eating patterns allow people to prioritize foods they truly enjoy, rather than adhering to meal plans or food rules,” said registered dietitian Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD of Street Smart Nutrition. 

    And as plant-based protein sources that are high in good and unsaturated fats, peanuts and peanut butter are a natural fit within Mediterranean and Flexitarian ways of eating.  

    Unfamiliar with the Mediterranean and Flexitarian diets? 

    I’m glad to break it down:

    The Mediterranean Diet[1][2][3]

    It’s a way of eating that includes plant-based meals with small amounts of animal proteins. The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes grains (at least half which are whole grains), fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and legumes (including peanuts) – which are all foods high in fiber. It also includes fish and other seafood, as well as olive oil as the main fat source for cooking. It offers more good, monounsaturated fats (found in foods like peanuts, peanut butter, seeds and olive oil) than the typical American diet, which is heavier on saturated fats from animal protein. And the Mediterranean diet offers choice when it comes to foods such as sweets and animal proteins such as red meat, cheese, butter and eggs – it suggests eating them in small amounts or not at all. 

    “In addition to wealth of research showing all its health benefits, I really like the Mediterranean Diet because it’s a lifestyle that’s bursting with incredible flavors and ingredients but isn’t complicated to cook,” said Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD and co-author of “The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 101 Easy, Flavorful Recipes for Lifelong Health. “Bowls of whole grains, delicious fruits and veggies, robust olive oil, delicate fish and seafood, filling nuts and seeds, hearty herbs and spices – what’s not to love?”

    As Segrave-Daly mentioned, there is significant research showing benefits of a Mediterranean eating pattern. A recent 2018 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people who ate a Mediterranean diet had a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease than people following a low-fat diet. The study was a randomized controlled trial (the gold standard in research) and included 288 participants ranging from 55 to 80 at high risk for cardiovascular disease, who made it to the study’s end-point. They were divided into three dietary groups – Mediterranean with emphasis on olive oil, Mediterranean with emphasis on nuts or a reduced-fat diet. Participants were followed over a five-year time period. 

    As all research does, this study had its limitations; including use of food frequency questionnaires which are subject to human error and the possibility that some cardiovascular events went undetected. [4]

    The Mediterranean Diet is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach to eating, however, which is why it is important to get guidance from an RDN before adopting such an eating style. For example, since the Mediterranean diet does not include much red meat, it’s good to know your iron status before adopting it. And other high-iron foods such as beans, dried fruit, salmon and tuna, should be eaten — along with vitamin C — which helps you absorb iron. And since the Mediterranean diet isn’t heavy on dairy, calcium supplements may need to be added to your plan. 

    The Flexitarian Diet[5]

    Much newer to the scene, the Flexitarian Diet is a way of eating that is primarily vegetarian with occasional fish and meat intake. Like the Mediterranean Diet, it includes all food groups but emphasizes nutrient-dense foods, including plant-based proteins such as peanuts, peanut butter, seeds, tofu, etc. Typical flexitarians include meat or seafood in their meals on some days of the week, but not every day.  

    But unlike the Mediterranean Diet, which has been extensively researched over time, research on the Flexitarian Diet is still emerging as the diet trend gains in popularity among consumers. One 2017 review published in Frontiers of Nutrition, which analyzed 25 studies — including both randomized controlled trials and observational studies from 2000 to 2016 — concluded that it may have emerging health benefits related to weight and metabolic health, including reduced blood pressure and diabetes risk. However, the authors emphasized the necessity of a more formal definition of the term, as well as the importance of more research on the diet to clarify its benefits and for health professionals to make any formal recommendations.[6]

    The Bottom Line

    Eating patterns like these enable you to enjoy a varied, balanced diet– without cutting out whole food groups. 

    “Since both of these eating styles focus on the bigger picture, there’s little judgement or shaming for ‘going off plan’ for a few meals or days,” Harbstreet said. “They also include a wider variety of foods, opening the door for more mindful and enjoyable eating experiences.”

    And for people who are heavy meat-eaters, the Mediterranean and Flexitarian patterns offer a middle ground without all-or-nothing rules. Plus, following them will not create added stress because they allow for flexibility in your eating. They also accommodate pleasure and choice in eating, as well as sustained and balanced nourishment – which I believe are key factors in cultivating and maintaining healthy diets, and relationships to food.

     

    To learn more about developing a balanced approach to eating, click here.

    To learn more about plant-forward eating patterns and health benefits, click here.

    To learn about the drawbacks of restrictive diets, click here.

    To learn about the environmental benefits of plant-forward eating,click hereand here.

    To try out some of our delicious plant-forward recipes, click here.

     

     

     

    Mediterranean Diet – Benefits, Menu Plan & Recipes

    Keeping a balanced diet can be tough, and if you are new to it, you may find yourself wondering what you can make that is quick, simple, healthy and satisfying. While the term “diet” may sometimes be connected to “restriction”, with a Mediterranean diet, you will find yourself being able to satiate your appetite and indulge in delicious food, while keeping your meals balanced.

    What Is Mediterranean Diet?

    A Mediterranean diet is enjoyed by the people of Croatia, Italy and Greece and is very often suggested by doctors for those with high blood pressure and problems with the heart. This is because this diet is extremely heart friendly, boasting of vegetables, seafood, nuts, whole grains and fruits. It is filled with healthy fats that appear commonly in the form of olive oil, and omega-3 fatty acids from the seafood that feature as the main source of protein. Poultry may be enjoyed in small quantities, and red meat is taken only once or twice in a month. Dairy is enjoyed as cheese and yogurt, and a bit of red wine is always a welcome part of it.

    Why You Should Consider Mediterranean Diet

    Here are some reasons why you should incorporate a Mediterranean diet in your life:

    1.

    Improves Longevity

    Studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet is a key to improving longevity due to its many nutritional ingredients and style of cooking. It helps treat and improve many conditions including heart conditions, type 2 diabetes and many others.

    2. Improves Fertility

    Though more research into this field still needs to be done, there are some studies that show women who indulge in this diet have a higher chance of conceiving even if they are undergoing treatment for fertility.

    3. Heart Healthy

    Food included in a Mediterranean diet is known to lower the risk of cardiovascular health by impacting the bad cholesterol that gets stuck in the arteries.

    4. Prevents Type-2 Diabetes

    Foods like fish, vegetables, fruits and olive oil, while also being abundant in fibre and monounsaturated fats are said to be the healthiest to include in a diet as they can help those with high blood sugar and diabetes.

    5. Aids in Graceful Ageing

    The abundance of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that a Mediterranean diet includes will keep your muscles from weakening early and will help you to maintain an active lifestyle as you grow older.

    6. Encourages Weight Loss

    Many people turn to the Mediterranean diet to lose weight. It includes a mainly plant-based diet, which is exactly what is needed to lose weight. Paired with regular exercise, you will remain fit and agile.

    7. Helps Treat Cancer

    Studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet can help in the treatment and prevention of cancer as it can make cancer cells die like normal cells. A compound called apigenin is responsible for this action and is found mostly in food that is plant-based, a quality that the Mediterranean diet possesses.

    8. Improves Cognitive Health

    Studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet can decrease the risk of developing any kind of cognitive impairment, and even reduces the risk of diseases like Parkinson’s disease. Regular consumption of the Mediterranean diet also shows an improvement in cognitive functioning due to its high nutritious content.

    9. Decreases Inflammation

    The Mediterranean diet includes many nutrients, minerals and vitamins that can help in fighting any kind of inflammation. Studies have shown that it helps to fight inflammatory diseases of low-grade, chronic nature.

    10. Promotes Good Skin

    Since the Mediterranean diet is high in olive oil, red wine and tomatoes, and also various other fruits and vegetables, it has a high amount of vitamin E, resveratrol and other compounds that are beneficial for the skin. These factors protect the skin from sun damage and also help it to heal and remain strong.

    Staples of Mediterranean Diet

    Here are some of the main ingredients that are considered to be staples in the Mediterranean diet:

    1. Nuts and Seeds

    Pistachios, walnuts, almonds and tahini are all favoured in the Mediterranean diet.

    2. Olives

    Whether it is whole olives or olive oil, olives play a considerable role in the Mediterranean diet.

    3. Legumes

    Peas, beans and lentils are all part and parcel of the Mediterranean diet and come with many health benefits.

    4. Fish

    Fish is eaten at least three times a week and is baked or grilled with herbs and spices to retain its health benefits.

    5. Fresh Vegetables

    Salads are a big deal in the Mediterranean diet, and a variety of fresh green vegetables are included in them. Tomatoes in every form and shape are used in various dishes.

    6. Fresh Fruits

    Fruits are enjoyed a lot, whether it is in yogurt, eaten plain or turned into a salad.

    7. Herbs And Spices

    No dish is complete without herbs and spices, and in Mediterranean cooking, the most commonly used are cumin, oregano, basil, paprika, black pepper, bay leaves, sage, thyme, rosemary, turmeric, garlic powder, ginger and crushed red peppers.

    8. Whole-Grains

    Pasta, wheat, millet, whole grain cornmeal and others make up the main part of Mediterranean cuisine.

    9. Yogurt

    Yogurt is used in many ways and can be made into a savoury sauce and even parfaits.

    10. Cheese

    Feta and parmesan cheeses are the most commonly used in Mediterranean cooking. Cheese is great when consumed in moderation.

    Foods to Avoid to Achieve the Full Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

    Here are some foods that you should avoid if you want to gain benefits from the Mediterranean diet:

    1. Refined Grain

    This includes anything that is made with refined wheat and white bread.

    2. Transfats

    This can be found in processed foods as well as in fats like margarine.

    3. Added Sugar

    This includes candy, soda, table sugar, ice cream and more.

    4. Processed Meat

    Things like ready-made hot-dogs, burgers and others fall under this category.

    5. Refined Oils

    Canola, cottonseed and soybean oils are some of them.

    6. Highly Processed Food

    Factory made foods that may show “diet” or “low fat” on the label.

    If you are interested in trying a Mediterranean diet plan, the following will help you get a good start.

    Day Breakfast Lunch Dinner
    Monday Fruit with yogurt and oats Vegetarian sandwich made with whole grain bread Tuna salad with olive oil and vegetables. Have some fruits for dessert.
    Tuesday Porridge with raisins Tuna salad sandwich with whole grain bread Salad made with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes
    Wednesday Scrambled eggs with onions, garlic and tomatoes Feta cheese and tomato salad sandwich Lasagne in Mediterranean style
    Thursday Cut fruits in yogurt with nuts Previous night’s lasagne Brown rice, steamed vegetables and grilled salmon
    Friday Oats and banana Grilled salmon sandwich with hummus spread and whole grain bread Grilled chicken breast with potatoes baked with herbs and spices and fresh salad
    Saturday Porridge with raisins and nuts Grilled chicken sandwich Mediterranean pizza with cheese, vegetables and tomatoes for toppings and a whole wheat base
    Sunday Vegetable omelette with olives Leftover Mediterranean pizza Grilled lamb with herbs and spices, baked potato and salad.

     

    Mediterranean diet breakfast, lunch and dinner will keep you satisfied the whole day and help you stick to your balanced diet. Have fruits for dessert and snack on fresh cucumbers or carrots with hummus dip or fresh tahini.

    Mediterranean Diet Recipes

    Here are some recipes you can try out:

    1. Mediterranean Lasagne

    This dish is hearty and filling.

    Ingredients 

    • One jar spicy pizza sauce
    • One can artichoke hearts, chopped
    • Half cup roasted and chopped red peppers
    • 1/3rd cup pitted olives
    • 2 cups ricotta cheese
    • 6 cooked lasagne noodles
    • Two cups shredded Italian cheese

    Method 

    • Preheat oven to 190 degree C.
    • Combine the olives, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts and sauce.
    • In a baking pan, layer the sauce mix, lasagne noodle, and both the cheeses until everything is used up.
    • Cover the pan with foil and bake for forty minutes. Your lasagne is ready!

    2. Mediterranean Salad

    An essential part of the Mediterranean diet for vegetarians.

    Ingredients

    • Half cup chopped cucumber
    • Half cup chopped tomatoes
    • Half cup chopped artichoke hearts
    • Half cup chopped palm hearts
    • Two tablespoons chopped olives
    • Two tablespoons chopped red onions
    • One tablespoon chopped capers
    • Chopped avocado half
    • One teaspoon chopped basil
    • ¼ cup lemon juice
    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • Himalayan pink salt

    Method

    • Make vinaigrette out of the lemon juice, olive oil and Himalayan salt.
    • Toss in the chopped vegetables. Your salad is ready!

    3. Margherita Pizza

    A pizza favoured in most parts of the world.

    Ingredients 

    • Pizza dough, one batch
    • ¼ cup flour for rolling
    • Olive oil, two tablespoons
    • Crushed tomatoes, half cup
    • Plum tomatoes, three, sliced
    • Salt, a half teaspoon
    • Mozzarella cheese, 170 g, grated
    • Basil leaves, half cup, sliced

    Method

    • Preheat oven 230 degree C.
    • Roll the dough out into a half inch thick disc.
    • Poke holes in it and bake for five minutes.
    • Add the toppings.
    • Bake for 15 minutes and let cool. Your pizza is done.

    4. Strawberry Yogurt

    Healthy and delicious dessert.

    Ingredients

    • One cup greek yogurt
    • Three tablespoons strawberries, chopped

    Method

    • Mix the two ingredients well. Serve cold.

    5. Avocado Egg Toast

    A great way to start the day.

    Ingredients

    • Toasted whole grain bread, 2 slices
    • Mashed avocado, 1
    • Steamed asparagus, 8
    • Shelled and sliced hard boiled egg, 1
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Olive oil

    Method 

    • Spread avocado mash on bread slices.
    • Place asparagus and one slice of egg on each slice.
    • Season with salt and pepper.

    Disadvantages of Mediterranean Diet

    While there are many distinct advantages of the Mediterranean diet, those with hypersensitivity should be careful and check the ingredients out carefully before deciding to incorporate it into their diet. It is also not very pocket-friendly as the ingredients may be hard to come by and are often expensive.

    The Mediterranean diet has many benefits, but it can sometimes be difficult to maintain such an expensive diet. However, as it is so beneficial for health, you can always use it as a way to make healthy and delicious foods out of the ingredients that are readily available.

    Also Read:

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    90,000 What recipes are on the menu and who are they suitable for?

    The Mediterranean diet is considered by many to be a model of good nutrition. Let’s figure out how things really are.

    If you are interested in healthy eating, you have probably heard of the Mediterranean diet. It is believed to be good for everyone because it is rich in fiber and fat. But is it really so? What are the benefits and risks of such a diet and how to switch to it correctly – we tell in this material.

    ☝️Attention! Before changing your diet, be sure to consult your doctor, especially if you have a medical condition.

    Content

    What is the Mediterranean Diet?

    This is a meal plan inspired by the diets of the people of Greece, Spain, Italy and France. It is rich in vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, and olive oil.

    In contrast to the Mediterranean diet, scientists refer to the Western diet as the Standard American Diet or SAD.It is rich in animal protein, refined sugars and fats.

    It is believed that people living in the Mediterranean region live longer and are less prone to chronic disease than people in Western countries. However, it is worth remembering that the Mediterranean diet is not only about certain foods, but also the way they are prepared, as well as a way of life.

    What do the followers of the Mediterranean diet eat?

    Vegetables: both raw and cooked, 3-4 servings for lunch and dinner, each serving is about 80 grams.

    1. Fruit: 1-2 servings with each meal, instead of dessert it is also advisable to eat fruit.
    2. Olive oil is very important for the Mediterranean diet and is the main source of healthy fats.
    3. Cereals: pasta, bread, cereals, 1-2 servings per meal. Preference is given to whole grains rich in fiber, B vitamins and trace elements.
    4. Seeds and nuts – a source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, proteins and fiber, you need to eat no more than 30 grams per day.
    5. Legumes are an important source of protein.
    6. Fish and white meat (with fish prevailing) – 2 times a week.
    7. Spices and herbs: They add flavor to food and are believed to help reduce salt intake.

    An important feature of the Mediterranean diet – high content of plant products: fruits and vegetables, herbs, legumes, nuts and seeds. The gold standard is at least 5 servings of vegetables or fruits daily. One serving contains 80 grams of fresh fruits and vegetables or 30 grams of dried fruit.

    Also important is the way of life . Residents of the Mediterranean region prefer to eat with family and friends and drink red wine with their meals. Physical activity in this case should be at least 150-300 minutes per week for an adult.

    ☝️Attention! Red wine (like any other alcoholic beverage) may be contraindicated for health reasons or incompatible with certain medications. Consult your doctor.

    How does the Mediterranean diet affect the gut microbiome?

    Research shows that the Mediterranean diet can increase short-chain fatty acids.They maintain the integrity of the intestinal mucosa and also play an important role in the fight against inflammation.

    Studies have also shown that supplementing the diet with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can increase the levels of probiotic microbes Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium . These and other microbes are also sources of beneficial short-chain fatty acids.

    Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain and heart health.They are found in oily fish such as herring and mackerel, as well as nuts. Plant fibers, in turn, work as prebiotics, which is also important for the health of the gut microbiome.

    A balanced Mediterranean diet promotes microbiota balance and may protect against chronic diseases such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

    Diet and disease

    The Mediterranean diet can help prevent many common chronic diseases.

    Cardiovascular diseases Reduces the risk of heart attacks
    Type II diabetes Helps stabilize blood glucose levels and reduce insulin resistance
    Aging Prevents cell damage due to inflammatory processes
    Brain diseases Reduces cognitive impairment
    Cancer Helps reduce the risk of some common cancers such as bowel cancer

    There is also evidence that the Mediterranean diet can prevent Alzheimer’s disease and alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

    Totals

    The Mediterranean diet is likely to do you more good than harm. It has a beneficial effect on the composition of the intestinal microbiota, and also helps in the prevention of a number of chronic diseases, including neurodegenerative ones. As a result, people who follow this meal plan tend to live longer.

    A varied diet is a great idea, but when changing your diet, you should be careful not to try to completely replace your usual foods and rebuild your diet.For example, you can add new dishes and products step by step, checking if the new product causes unpleasant symptoms of intolerance or allergies.

    In general, it is best to discuss dietary changes with your doctor, especially if you have any medical conditions. It is also worth paying attention to the fact that red wine may be contraindicated for health reasons.

    Learn more about how to improve your diet with the Atlas Microbiota Test. The results will tell you which foods should be added and which ones, on the contrary, should be limited in order to improve digestion and well-being.

    • Mayo Clinic: Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan
    • Anna Bach-Faig, et al., “Mediterranean diet pyramid today. Science and cultural updates”, 2011
    • NHS: What is a Mediterranean diet?
    • NHS: 5 A Day: what counts?
    • Andreu Prados “An update of the scientific evidence behind the microbiota-specific effects of common dietary patterns”, 2019
    • Henry Watson, et al., “A randomized trial of the effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements on the human intestinal microbiota”, 2018
    • Rasnik K.Singh, et al., “Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health”, 2017
    • Lukas Schwingshackl, et al., “Adherence to Mediterranean Diet and Risk of Cancer: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”, 2017
    • Theodora Psaltopoulou, et al., “Mediterranean diet, stroke, cognitive impairment, and depression: A meta-analysis”, 2013
    • Parkinson’s Foundation: Mediterranean Diet
    • Efthymios Gotsis, et al. , “Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet: An Update of Research Over the Last 5 Years”, 2014

    features of the power supply system and menu

    A common problem faced by many girls.Spoiler – it needs to be addressed as a whole. All methods are simple – read the material and choose your own.

    The human body contains about 60% water, which is important for all biological processes. It is recommended to consume a sufficient volume of liquid every day – about 2.0-2.5 liters. But many people note water retention, due to which weight increases, edema occurs. We give detailed instructions on how to remove fluid from the body quickly.

    Swelling or excess water: what’s the difference

    Correcting body weight by removing excess fluid is necessary for professional athletes and bodybuilders who need to match a certain weight category or improve their appearance.

    Excessive water retention leading to edema is another problem. Although they are harmless in most cases, persistent swelling can be a symptom of serious medical conditions such as heart, liver or kidney disease. Women experience fluid retention during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy.

    Our material contains tips for healthy people and athletes. If you have severe swelling in your feet or hands, see your doctor. It is important to exclude kidney pathologies and serious endocrine metabolic diseases.

    1. Regular exercise

      This is one of the best ways to lose weight quickly and safely. Any form of exercise increases sweating, which means the body loses water. Average fluid loss during one hour of training is 0.5-2 liters per hour, depending on the temperature in the gym and clothes. During exercise, the body also transfers water to the muscles. It helps to reduce the amount of fluid under the skin, improving the appearance and eliminating puffiness (swelling of the subcutaneous tissue).

      Taking care of how to remove excess fluid from the body, we must not forget about adequate water intake during exercise. Failure to do so may result in severe dehydration and impairment of well-being. The sauna helps to increase the loss of moisture and eliminate puffiness. It activates perspiration with the loss of fluid through the skin. If you go to the sauna after exercise, the effect will increase.

      2. Adequate sleep

        Scientists have proven that proper sleep is important for metabolism, along with physical activity and diet.During sleep, the sympathetic nervous system activates the kidneys, which regulate the amount of sodium and fluid in the tissues.

        Adequate sleep regulates fluid levels and reduces water retention in the subcutaneous tissue. On average, you need to sleep about 7-9 hours a day.

        3. Stress Reduction

          Constant stress increases the concentration of the hormone cortisol in the blood plasma. One of its effects is water retention in tissues, which provokes swelling.This is because the stress hormone stimulates the activity of ADH (antidiuretic hormone), which retains fluids. The basis of ADH work is signals to the kidneys about the retention of salts, which automatically provokes a retention – less urine is excreted, water remains in the tissues and subcutaneous tissue.

          Eliminating stress helps to normalize the work of ADH, relieves its negative effects on the kidneys, allowing more active urine production, removing excess moisture.

          4.Elimination of electrolyte imbalance

          If the body does not get enough electrolytes – ions that have an electrical charge, fluid imbalance is possible. Positive ions are especially important – potassium, magnesium and sodium, negative chlorine. If the concentration of electrolytes in plasma or cells rises sharply or decreases, this provokes a disruption in fluid flow. Edema inside the cells or in the intercellular space is possible.

          How to remove water from the body with edema, if the reason is an imbalance of ions

          It is important to correlate salt intake with fluid intake, if a lot of moisture is supplied, accordingly, more salt is needed, and vice versa.

          When playing sports, living in a hot climate where the air humidity is high, it is necessary to consume additional portions of electrolytes to replenish the loss of salts during perspiration.

          If a person consumes a lot of salt from food or supplements, they should drink enough water. Otherwise, the salt will attract, retain fluid and provoke swelling.

          5. Adjustment of salt intake

          Table salt is sodium ions (positive) with chlorine ions (negative).In the body, salt dissolves, breaking down into ions. It determines the level of water retention in tissues. Lack of sodium in plasma, intercellular fluid and cells, or its excess, leads to metabolic disorders, provoking water retention in the body or its active removal by the kidneys.

          The high salt content of processed foods, junk food, or regular meals tends to cause excess moisture retention in the subcutaneous tissue, leading to swelling. The effect is especially pronounced against the background of insufficient intake of ordinary drinking water and a lack of physical activity.Swelling worsens if a person drinks sugary sodas instead, which stimulate the feeling of thirst.

          How to remove fluid from the body in this case

          To a large extent, the severity of edema depends on water consumption and the volume of circulating blood. Swelling usually occurs when a person drinks more liquid, or, conversely, much less than usual. Therefore, you need to adhere to the average consumption of drinks every day, adjusted for your own feelings and air temperature.

          6. Taking an additional portion of magnesium

            Another key mineral needed to maintain fluid balance in the body. It not only regulates the volume of water in the plasma or intercellular fluid, but also normalizes the functioning of the nervous system, the transmission of impulses between cells. In the human body, magnesium is involved in 600 different metabolic processes, reducing body weight and the severity of PMS in women, relieving stress.

            It actively interacts with sodium and potassium, controlling the filtration of fluid by the kidneys and its re-uptake (reabsorption) under conditions of dehydration.Supplemental magnesium helps in weight control by dehydrating and suppressing stress responses.

            7. Reception of dandelion extract

              Common dandelions are a medicinal plant that has a natural diuretic effect. Infusions and decoctions of dandelion root are used at home to introduce excess moisture to reduce the severity of edema.

              The active substances in the broth signal the kidneys to more actively filter water and salts, increasing the volume of urine excreted.Over the next 5 hours, the work of the renal glomeruli increases with filtration of more urine. It is important to consult with your doctor first. There are certain limitations – kidney, heart or liver pathologies.

              8. Consumption of more ordinary water

                This helps eliminate fluid retention in tissues and cells. The body strives for an ideal balance – optimal intake and excretion. If a person is constantly suffering from dehydration, the body will regularly turn on mechanisms for fluid retention so that metabolic processes do not stop.

                If a person achieves an optimal balance, the body actively removes excess water through the kidneys and through the skin, which eliminates swelling and prevents their appearance. Drinking enough water is not limited to just preventing edema. This is necessary to activate the breakdown of fat and full brain function.

                • Landmark – thirst . It is important to drink a few sips of plain water every time you feel like drinking, but you don’t need to drink 1-2 glasses at a time.In hot weather or during exercise, fluid consumption increases.

                • Another landmark is urine color . If it is pale yellow, transparent, it means that the body receives the optimal volume of water, the tissues are fully moisturized.

                9. Consumption of selected healthy foods

                  The easiest way to remove water from the body for weight loss is to eat more foods that regulate fluid balance (especially rich in potassium) .This mineral stimulates the kidneys to excrete excess sodium, and with it – water.

                  magnesium supplements or foods with a substance help in the fight against edema:

                  • dark chocolate;

                  • dark green leafy vegetables;

                  • nuts and whole grains.

                  There are a number of herbal products 90,243 that have a mild diuretic effect: 90,244

                  Although fluid retention does not cause bloating or discomfort, restricting consumption of foods that cause flatulence is beneficial for edema as well.The hazardous group includes highly processed foods with a sufficient fiber content, beans and dairy products (with lactose). It is worth choosing foods with a low FODMAP content for a while to assess the effect.

                  10. Decrease in the amount of carbohydrates

                    Another option is how to remove excess water from the body. Simple sugars are stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen, which also retains water in the tissues. For every gram of glycogen in the body, there are 3-4 grams of water.This explains why people immediately lose weight when they switch to a low-carb diet that decreases glycogen stores.

                    Carbohydrates also stimulate an increase in insulin levels, which increases sodium retention and water reabsorption in the kidneys. Low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels and the introduction of excess sodium and water by the kidneys. Try changing your carbohydrate intake and see how the swelling decreases.

                    11. Taking caffeinated supplements or tea and coffee

                      An easy way to quickly flush water out of your body is with caffeine and drinks containing caffeine, for example.They have a diuretic effect.

                      In one study, participants were offered a glass of water with or without caffeine at doses of 4.5 mg per kg of body weight. When drinking caffeine with water, the participants’ urine volume increased significantly. That said, although caffeine has a mild diuretic effect, it does not cause dehydration.

                      12. Changing habits

                        • One of the best lifestyle changes you can make is to reduce your intake of processed foods and excessive salt intake.

                        • You cannot sit still for a long time – this can reduce blood circulation. Physical activity improves it and helps to get rid of excess water.

                        • Some medications can also cause water retention, so it’s worth consulting your doctor if you’re concerned.

                        • While it’s not directly related to water retention, it’s worth evaluating nutrition to make sure it doesn’t cause digestive problems or bloating.

                        • Excessive or inadequate intake of water, alcohol, minerals, caffeine, and salt can cause delays.

                        • Taking pills with a diuretic effect is prohibited without the permission of a doctor.

                        Clinical Study Type 2 Diabetes: Individual Structured MD Based Diet Plan – Clinical Trials Registry

                        Measure Time limit
                        Changes in diet quality from baseline to visit 3 1-week post run-in period (baseline), 12-week post Mediterranean diet intervention (visit 3)
                        Changes in food intake from baseline before Visit 2 and 3 1 week after the induction period (baseline), 4 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 2), 12 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 3)
                        Changes in fasting total serum cholesterol (mg / dL) from baseline to visit 2 and 3 1 week after the induction period (baseline), 4 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 2), 12 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 3)
                        Changes in fasting serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (mg / dL) from baseline before visits 2 and 3 1 week after the induction period (baseline), 4 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 2), 12 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 3)
                        Changes in fasting serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (mg / dL) from baseline before visits 2 and 3 1 week after the induction period (baseline), 4 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 2), 12 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 3)
                        Changes in fasting serum triglycerides (mg / dL) from baseline to visit 2 and 3 1 week after the induction period (baseline), 4 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 2), 12 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 3)
                        Changes in total body fat (kg) from baseline before visit 2 and 3 1 week after the induction period (baseline), 4 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 2), 12 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 3)
                        Changes in free fat mass (kg) from baseline for visits 2 and 3 90,085

                        1 week after the induction period (baseline), 4 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 2), 12 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 3)
                        Changes in waist circumference (cm) from baseline for visits 2 and 3 1 week after the induction period (baseline), 4 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 2), 12 weeks after the intervention in the Mediterranean diet (visit 3)

                        Mediterranean Diet – Lose Weight Usefully!

                        According to a new study published in the journal Gut, those on the Mediterranean diet have higher levels of healthy short-chain fatty acids in their gut.This study points to a direct link between the amount of fiber-rich foods consumed and the production of important health-promoting short-chain fatty acids in the gut.

                        Anaerobic bacteria of the large intestine ferment products of plant origin with the formation of short-chain fatty acids – acetic, propionic and butyric – acetate, propionate, butyrate. These compounds help to reduce the risk of developing inflammatory diseases, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular pathologies.In addition, butyric acid is the primary energy source for colon cells and promotes the renewal of the intestinal mucosa.

                        In the course of the study, scientists analyzed the diet of 153 volunteers from Italy. They noted what foods the participants ate during 1 week, and also analyzed samples of their feces and urine – to assess the metabolic process in the intestine with a certain diet. Of the 153 volunteers who participated in the study, 51 ate both meat and plant foods, 51 were vegetarian and 51 were vegan.It is worth noting that the Mediterranean diet is 88% vegan, 65% vegetarian, and 30% vegetarian.

                        The researchers found that depending on the structure of the diet, the intestinal microflora differed in the participants. For example, it was found that those who ate predominantly plant foods, especially those who were vegan, had higher levels of bacteria Bacteroidetes in their gut, while those who ate predominantly animal food had higher levels of bacteria Firmicutes .As a result, participants experienced different fermentation processes, including the production of short-chain fatty acids.

                        Higher levels of short-chain fatty acids were found among vegans, vegetarians and those who followed the Mediterranean diet. In addition, participants who ate animal products experienced increased levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) compared to vegetarians and vegans. It is worth noting that TMAO is formed in the liver from foods such as eggs, beef, pork, and fish.Thus, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and fiber can increase the levels of short-chain fatty acids in the gut and thereby improve gut microflora and overall human health, but more research is needed in this area.

                        Based on materials from www.medicalnewstoday.com

                        90,000 Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

                        A new study by scientists from Harvard University offers information from a cohort study of women in the United States who reported the consumption of the Mediterranean diet.The researchers found a 25 percent reduction in the risk of heart disease among study participants who ate a diet rich in plants and olive oil and low in meats and sweets.

                        The research team also examined why and how a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes by examining a group of 40 biomarkers representing new and recognized biological factors that contribute to heart disease.The team’s results are published in the JAMA Network Open edition.

                        “Our study provides compelling evidence that modest changes in known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, especially those associated with inflammation, glucose metabolism and insulin resistance, contribute to the long-term benefits of the Mediterranean diet for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. This understanding may have important follow-up implications for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, ”said study lead author Shafkat Ahmad.

                        The current study is based on data from over 25,000 women who participated in a health study. Participants completed dietary questionnaires, provided blood samples for biomarker measurements, and were followed for 12 years. The primary outcomes analyzed in the study were cases of cardiovascular disease, defined as the first incidences of heart attack, stroke, coronary artery revascularization, and cardiovascular death.

                        A team of scientists classified the study participants as people with low, medium or high Mediterranean consumption. They found that 428 (4.2 percent) women in the lower group had cardiovascular disease, compared with 356 (3.8 percent) in the middle group and 246 (3.8 percent) in the upper group, which means a decrease in the relative risk by 23 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

                        Researchers observed changes in signals for inflammation (accounting for a 29 percent reduction in heart disease risk), glucose metabolism and insulin resistance (27.9 percent), and maximum body index (27.3 percent).The team also found links to blood pressure, various forms of cholesterol, branched-chain amino acids and other biomarkers, but found that they explain less of the link between the Mediterranean diet and reduced risk of disease.

                        “While previous studies have shown benefits of the Mediterranean diet in reducing cardiovascular disease and improving cardiovascular risk factors, it has been a black box regarding the extent to which improvements in known and emerging risk factors contribute to these effects.” said Samia Mora, a specialist in cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Harvard School of Medicine.”In this large study, we found that modest differences in biomarkers were multifactorial in favor of the cardiovascular system, which was observed in the long term.”

                        The mechanism of action of the Mediterranean diet is disclosed.

                        British scientists have found out the mechanism of the beneficial effect of the Mediterranean diet on the body. As it turns out, the combination of unsaturated fats with nitrite and nitrate rich vegetables, such as olive oil and lettuce, can lower blood pressure through the formation of nitro acids, which suppress pathological processes in the body.

                        British scientists have figured out the mechanism of the Mediterranean diet’s beneficial effect on the body. As it turns out, the combination of unsaturated fats with nitrite and nitrate rich vegetables, such as olive oil and lettuce, can lower blood pressure through the formation of nitro acids, which suppress pathological processes in the body. The research results are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ( PNAS ).

                        The Mediterranean diet is rich in unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts, fish, avocados, and vegetable nitrites and nitrates (eg spinach, celery, carrots). When these two food categories are consumed simultaneously, fatty nitro acids are formed during the reaction between unsaturated fats and nitrogen compounds.

                        Scientists from King’s College London decided to study in a mouse model how nitro acids help lower blood pressure and whether they inhibit the activity of soluble epoxide hydrolase, an enzyme that affects blood pressure.

                        Their studies showed that mice with a mutation that inhibit the suppression of this enzyme maintained high blood pressure, despite the intake of fatty nitro acids in the animals’ bodies, which are usually formed when eating foods typical of the Mediterranean diet. In contrast, in mice lacking this genetic mutation, nitro acids helped lower blood pressure while on the same diet.

                        Thus, the scientists concluded that the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet, which includes unsaturated fats and nitrites (or nitrates), is associated with the formation of fatty nitro acids during digestion, which suppress the activity of soluble epoxide hydrolase and thereby contribute to lowering blood pressure.

                        “Our findings help explain why a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart failure and myocardial infarction,” said one of the authors of the study, Professor Philip Eatonat.

                        90,000 The European Union has decided to make a cult out of food

                        The European Union (EU) has supported the Spanish government’s proposal to include the so-called “Mediterranean” diet in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.The proposal must be ratified by the Executive Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO, which will meet in its next meeting from 14 to 19 November this year in Nairobi.

                        A 2007 proposal by Spain and Italy, joined by Greece and Morocco, came close to a successful logical conclusion after the very warm support of the Chairman of the Commagri (Committee of Trade and Agriculture of the European Parliament) Paolo de Castro ( Paolo De Castro).It was he who, during his tenure as minister, in 2007, filed an application for Italy. Like the Venetian Lagoon, Alberobello (Trulli, Italy), Machu Picchu, Notre Dame Cathedral (Notre Dame), the Statue of Liberty and the Great Barrier Reef, the Mediterranean diet has been included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List not only due to its historical significance, but also because this dietary pattern and lifestyle has received support from scientists who have proven its real health benefits.

                        The initiative is of lasting importance for Italy.The national cuisine and the Mediterranean diet have formed a kind of food culture. In its deep roots, advances in the use of key foods, namely fruits, vegetables and pasta, have played a significant role. They were supplemented by wine and olive oil, which the European Union also gave pride of place to, leaving only France and Spain ahead.

                        The Mediterranean diet is based on fiber-rich foods (cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables), as well as olive oil and fish, which have long been widely recognized as elements of a healthy diet aimed at combating cellular aging and cardiovascular diseases.

                        Bread, pasta, fruits, vegetables, olives and an invariable glass of wine accompanying every meal put Italians in the first place among centenarians (which also involves garlic, which is consumed in large quantities here): the average life expectancy for men is 77.2 years, and women – 82.8 years – in both cases, far beyond the average European age. These statistics are given by the Chairman of Coldiretti (Italian Association of Agricultural Producers).

                        According to Coldiretti, among Europeans, the descendants of the ancient Romans rank first in the race for long life. In particular, they are leading in the absence of adipose tissue and, therefore, are the owners of the most advanced forms among the inhabitants of the Old World, reaching an almost ideal weight / height ratio, known as body mass index (BMI), which guarantees them a Mediterranean diet.

                        Despite the fact that Italians are only a couple of inches behind Europeans (on average 1.681 m versus 1.699 m), in kilograms the inhabitants of the Apennines lag behind the average citizen of the united Europe (68.7 kg versus 72.2 kg), securing the top position in terms of BMI against values ​​from 0.408 to 0.425 (for the rest of Europe). Within this range, the European average BMI fluctuates, as reported in the latest Eurobarometer health and nutrition report presented by the European Commissioners.

                        However, if the adult population, following the principles of the Mediterranean diet, is aging safely, young people are mired in problems, judging by the fact that, as the document says, among boys reaching or approaching ten years of age, 36% are overweight and obese.So in this sense, Italians again occupy first place in the European Union, where up to 400 thousand children annually disfigure their figure with fat and more than 14 million young people are overweight (of which 3 million people have some degree of obesity).

                        In this regard, the possible inclusion of the Mediterranean diet in the list of cultural and spiritual heritage of UNESCO creates opportunities for its wide distribution and popularization for the benefit of the health of all citizens.

                        Hence – the possibility of implementing protective actions aimed at protecting the origin and properties of the classic components of the Mediterranean diet, which include the following mandatory steps: (a) indicating the name of the product on the label; (b) combating Italian producers intending to grow olives, grapes, tomatoes, eggplants, strawberries, cherries, citrus fruits, kiwi, as well as other vegetables and fruits, resorting to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which, moreover, violate normal economic development and an irreversible blow to the Made in Italy brand image.

                        For centuries, the Mediterranean diet has been part of the cultural, historical, social, geographical and national area, in which and together with which the lifestyle of the peoples of the Mediterranean has been formed throughout their history. It so happened that in the food market, the Made in Italy brand in most cases implies the key components of the Mediterranean diet, which have become, from a national economic point of view, the “heavyweights” of the national food industry.

                        “Our country, with its food preferences, with its culture, has achieved great success,” says the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Giancarlo Galan and adds: “The Mediterranean diet is the foundation, it is the way of life based on local products in the most solemn moments of life with family and friends. This symbiosis of food culture, knowledge and ingrained skills and habits that are passed down from generation to generation, from the point of view of UNESCO, represents an original example of a world heritage that should be nurtured and expanded.The positive conclusion of UNESCO means that in the international context, the consumption of food and the production of its components (agriculture) are synonymous with culture, which can and should be evaluated and equated with quite tangible values.

                        The highly respected UNESCO list, which includes the unique (from the point of view of specialists) intangible heritage of mankind, consists of 166 items (including tango and Chinese calligraphy). Until today, Italy has been content with only two positions in it, which are occupied by the Sicilian puppet theater and the Sardinian tenor, which is unique in its sound.The decision of UNESCO means that Italy has added one more line to this list.

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