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Benefits of New ‘Green’ Mediterranean Diet Revealed in Study


A new ‘green’ Mediterranean diet, containing even more plant matter and very little red meat or poultry, may be even better for cardiovascular and metabolic health than the traditional version suggests, new research published in the journal. Heart.

The Mediterranean diet, rich in plant-based foods, is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes and currently forms the backbone of dietary guidelines to avoid coronary heart disease.

Its impact is believed to be related to a higher dietary intake of “healthy” polyphenols, fats, and fiber, and a lower intake of animal protein.

Researchers from Israel, Germany, and the US wanted to know if a greener version of this diet, richer in green plant food sources and even lower in consumption of red meat, could be even better for health.

According to a statement from BMJ, they randomized 294 sedentary people with moderate obesity (BMI 31) with an average age of 51 in three dietary groups.

The first group received guidance on promoting physical activity and basic guidelines for a healthy diet.

The second received the same physical activity guide plus advice on following a traditional calorie-restricted Mediterranean diet (1500-1800 calories per day for men and 1200-1400 calories per day for women).

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This one was low in simple carbohydrates, rich in vegetables, with poultry and fish replacing the red meat. It included 28 grams per day of walnuts.

The third group received physical activity counseling as well as advice on how to follow a similar calorie-restricted green version of the Mediterranean diet.

This included 28 grams per day of nuts, avoiding red / processed meat, and higher amounts of plant matter. It also included 3-4 cups a day of green tea and 100 grams of frozen cubes of Wolffia globosa (Mankai’s cultured strain), a protein-rich form of aquatic plant duckweed, taken as a protein shake. green vegetable as a partial substitute for animal protein.

At six months, the effect of each of the diets on weight loss and on cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors was evaluated.

Those who followed both types of Mediterranean diet lost more weight: those on the green Mediterranean diet (Med green) lost 6.2 kg; those on the Mediterranean diet lost 5.4 kg; and those who followed a healthy diet lost 1.5 kg.

Waist circumference, an indicator of a potentially damaging abdominal bulge, was reduced by an average of 8.6 cm among those on the Med green diet compared to 6.8 cm for those on the Mediterranean diet and those on the Mediterranean diet. 4.3 cm of those on the healthy diet.

The Green Med diet group achieved larger drops in “bad” low-density cholesterol of 6.1 mg / dl, a reduction of nearly 4%. The equivalent figures were 2.3 mg / dl (almost 1%) for those in the Mediterranean diet group and 0.2 mg / dl for those in the healthy diet group.

Similarly, other cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors improved more among those who followed the Green Med diet, including drops in diastolic blood pressure, insulin resistance, and an important marker of inflammation, C-reactive protein, which has a key role in hardening of the arteries. The ratio of “good” and “bad” cholesterol also increased.

These changes resulted in a substantial nearly double drop in the 10-year Framingham risk score, a calculation used to predict the likelihood of severe heart disease over the next decade, among those on the Green Med diet.

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The researchers caution that their sample included only 35 women, nor could they identify the specific factors in the Green Med diet responsible for the observed effects.

But write in their peer-reviewed research: “Education and encouragement to follow a Green Med dietary pattern in conjunction with physical activity has the potential to be an important factor for public health, as it can improve the balance of cardiovascular risk factors, and eventually prevent morbidity and cardiovascular mortality “.

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And they conclude: “Our findings suggest that additional restriction of meat intake with a parallel increase in protein-rich and plant-based foods may further benefit cardiometabolic status and reduce cardiovascular risk, beyond the known beneficial effects of the traditional Mediterranean diet. “

Source: BMJ

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