Healthy Eating

Diet Tips from our Mediterranean Friends

There are a few common topics every woman in America can bond around. Complicated relationships and healthy eating are my top guesses. It’s easy to make a friend when you share your diet failures. Even men have diets monitored by the valued women in their lives.

5351126684_f5043c13ef-300x200When we think back to thirty years ago when child obesity was 30% lower that it is today and panic sets in. We want to eat healthy but there are so many options and if you’re anything like me, you’re tired of searching for the secret in fad diets that either take the joy out of your life or make you OCD about sticking to it which takes the joy out of lives that live around you.

One of the best ways to find out what really works is to read scientific papers or follow bloggers that quote and question those research papers well. A study that has caught the attention of many a dietician was published in February in the New England Journal of Medicine by a group of Spanish researchers. They studied the benefits of a Mediterranean diet with respect to cardio-vascular function. The data collected was extensive. With over 7000 participants divided into 3 groups and monitored over a period of 5 years. The study was expected to be of longer duration but since the results seemed so clearly in favor of the Mediterranean diet, it was cut short.

While one may critique the methods researchers used in various aspects of the project one thing we can all agree on is that for once there is solid evidence that this way of eating is better for cardio-vascular health than the control group. So what are some practical weight loss plan diet tips we can learn from our Mediterranean friends?

  1. Go Nuts: One of the 3 groups of the Spanish study was given 30gms of mixed nuts to eat daily. Nuts are high in phytochemicals which is one of the main strengths of the Mediterranean diet. While nuts are caloric, remember that they do satiate hunger, contain essential fats and some vitamins. It’s a great snack!
  2. Olive Oil: Olive Oil was a character who loved the spinach devourer whom we all know and love—Popeye. I can’t help but think that the makers of Popeye were trying to help kids eat healthy with Olive Oil and spinach. In the Spanish study one of the three groups were asked to increase their consumption of extra virgin olive oil (about 0.26 gallon per week). It’s clear that this not a low-cal diet and it still works!
  3. Less Meat, Less Dairy, More Legumes: Our Mediterranean friends are not vegetarians but they do eat less meat than western countries do. Dairy is not as dominant in this diet as it is in the typical American diet. Consider what eating less meat and dairy would look like for you. Add in loads of fresh vegetables and legumes that fulfill your zinc requirements.

With these 3 tips and a little exercise, you’ll be surprised how healthy you can feel and be. You don’t need to try every diet you see advertised on TV. Look into studies like these that help you drastically improve your lifestyle with just a little effort.

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