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Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan

Key components of the Mediterranean diet

  • Eating of primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, 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 (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise.

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Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan

Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801

mayoclinic.org

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Key Ideas

The Mediterranean diet

The heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating plan based on typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking.

The diet includes fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine.

Benefits of the Traditional Mediterranean diet

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet 

  • reduces the risk of heart disease
  • is associated with a lower level of the "bad" cholesterol
  • is associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. 

Key components of the Mediterranean diet

  • Eating of primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, 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 (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise.

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The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet

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A general guideline

There is no one "right" way to eat for everyone.

Some eat a low-carb diet high in animal foods, while others follow a high-carb diet with lots of plants.

Avoid these foods and ingredients:

  • Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • All Grains.
  • Legumes like beans and lentils.
  • Most Dairy, especially low-fat dairy.
  • Some vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, corn, grapeseed, safflower and other oils.
  • Trans fats: "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils found in margarine and various processed foods.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium. 
  • Highly processed foods: Everything labeled "diet" or "low-fat" or that has many additives.

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Best foods don’t have labels
Best foods don’t have labels

Because they are just one ingredient: avocado, lentils, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.

There is no "best diet"

The “best” diet is a theme: an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and plain water for thirst. 

That can be with or without seafood; with or without dairy; with or without eggs; with or without some meat; high or low in total fat.

The "Age" of vegetables
The best vegetables are likely to be fresh and locally sourced, but flash frozen is nearly as good (as freezing delays aging). Those “fresh” vegetables that spend a long time in storage or transit are probably the least nutritious.

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The Mediterranean Diet

The diet is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. 

It features fish and poultry—lean sources of protein—over red meat. 

Red win...

Research suggests these benefits:
  • Improved weight loss
  • Better control of blood glucose (sugar) levels
  • Reduced risk of depression
  • Associated with reduced levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease
How to change over to a Mediterranean Diet

Start small. Follow the strategies below, and make it a habit.

  1. Switch up your oil to extra-virgin olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. Drizzle it on finished dishes like fish or chicken to boost flavor.
  2. Eat More fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel. 
  3. Eat veggies all day long.
  4. Phase in "real" whole grains that are still in their “whole” form and haven’t been refined.
  5. Snack on nuts, like almonds, cashews, or pistachios. 
  6. Enjoy Fruit for dessert. Also keep fresh fruit visible at home to snack on.
  7. Sip (a little) wine.
  8. Instead of gobbling your meal in front of the TV, slow down and sit down at the table with your family and friends to savor what you’re eating.
Pros of the Mediterranean Diet
Pros of the Mediterranean Diet
  • General Nutrition. It encourages a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
  • Heart Health. It is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and...
Cons of the Mediterranean Diet
  • Cost. Some consumers do worry about the cost of including fish regularly.
  • Additional Guidance May Be Necessary for Diabetes. Because there is an emphasis on grains, fruits, and vegetables (including starchy vegetables), meals may be high in carbohydrates.
  • Restrictions May Feel Challenging. This diet recommends reducing red meat and added sugar consumption.
  • Concerns About Alcohol Intake. Some experts raise concerns about regular alcohol intake (particularly wine).
The Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet

It is not a weight-loss regime such as the Atkins or Dukan diets. It is actually not a prescriptive diet at all, rather a pattern of eating.

It is based on a rural life where people at...

Principles of the Mediterranean diet
  • It is based on large amounts of fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and especially olive oil.
  • Fish and seafood depends on how close to the sea you live.
  • Chicken, eggs and small amounts of dairy, such as cheese and yoghurt, are there in moderation.
  • The diet includes a small amount of wine with meals
  • It is quite a high-carbohydrate diet (pasta, bread and potatoes).
  • Red meat and sweets would rarely be consumed.
  • It is accompanied by quite a lot of physical activity. 
The Mediterranean diet is more than food on a plate
  • It emphasises values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity, and a way of life guided by respect for diversity.
  • Shared family meals help people eat well and avoid excess, while the TV dinner habit is linked to obesity.
  • It involves a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking and particularly the sharing and consumption of food.
What successful diets have in common
  • Low in added sugar. 
  • Eliminate refined carbs. 
  • Avoid vegetable oils high in Omega-6 Fat.
  • Eliminate artificial trans fats, linked to inflammation and condition...
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Ketogenic diet

Unlike other low-carb diets, which focus on protein, a keto plan centers on fat, which supplies as much as 90% of daily calories. The keto diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat. 

Keto diet meals

Followers must eat fat at each meal:

  • Some healthy unsaturated fats are allowed: almonds, walnuts, seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil. But saturated fats from oils (palm, coconut), lard, butter, and cocoa butter are encouraged in high amounts.
  • Protein is part of the keto diet, but it doesn't typically discriminate between lean protein foods and protein sources high in saturated fat such as beef, pork, and bacon.
  • You can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables are restricted to leafy greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. 

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The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet is an effort to go back to eating how we’re biologically designed to eat, allowing us to tap into our genetic potential and start living healthier immediately.

Lose weight on the Paleo Diet
  1. Eat fewer calories than you burn every day.
  2. Eat mostly real food if you want to be healthy.
  3. Do those two things consistently for a decade to KEEP the weight off.

When you only eat real food and avoid all unhealthy food, you’re more likely than not going to run a caloric deficit – and thus lose weight.

Eat the following:
  • Meat – GRASS-FED, not grain-fed. 
  • Fowl – Chicken, duck, hen, turkey.
  • Fish – Wild fish, as mercury and other toxins can be an issue in farmed fish
  • Eggs – Omega-3 enriched cage free eggs.
  • Vegetables – As long as they’re not deep-fried, eat as many as you want.
  • Oils – Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil – think natural.
  • Fruits – Fruits have natural sugar, and can be higher in calories, so limit if you’re trying to lose weight.
  • Nuts – High in calories, so they’re good for a snack only.
  • Tubers – Sweet potatoes and yams. Higher in calories and carbs.

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Paleo concept

Humans evolved on a diet very different from today's eating habits. To be healthier, leaner, stronger and fitter, we must re-think our diet and remove some of the food groups we ...

What to eat
  • Animals (especially a "whole animal" approach, including organs, bone marrow, cartilage, and organs).
  • Animal products (such as eggs or honey).
  • Vegetables and fruits.
  • Raw nuts and seeds.
  • Added fats (like coconut oil, avocado, butter, ghee).
What to avoid
  • Grains, although research suggests eating whole grains improve our health and appear to be neutral when it comes to inflammation.
  • Heavily processed oils, such as canola and soybean oil.
  • Legumes, although research suggests the benefits of legumes outweigh their anti-nutrient content. Cooking eliminates most anti-nutrient effects. Some anti-nutrients may even be good.
  • Dairy.

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The Mediterranean Diet
  • Eat 7-10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
  • Carbohydrates should be consumed in the form of whole grains.
  • Protein should be mostly in the form of fish...
Research results on the Mediterranean diet
  • Those who follow this diet retain brain power as they age.
  • Help reduce brain shrinkage and retain brain cells.
  • Reduce the occurrence of macular degeneration by more than a third.
  • Reduces rates of one of the more aggressive forms of breast cancer.
  • Prevents cardiovascular disease.
  • Improves diabetes.
  • Limits the rate of osteoporosis and fractures.
  • Improves life span.
  • Helps to lose weight, particularly hard to lose belly fat.
  • Helps maintain weight loss.