New ‘Green’ Mediterranean Diet May Be Even Healthier for YouPosted: January 5, 2021
- Researchers say a new “green” Mediterranean diet is healthier for you than even the traditional Mediterranean diet.
- The green version replaces the minimal amount of red meat allowed in the traditional Mediterranean diet with plant-based protein.
- Experts say plant proteins have additional health benefits that include anti-inflammatory characteristics.
The “green” Mediterranean diet may be even healthier for you than the traditional Mediterranean diet.
That’s according to a new study published online in the journal Heart.
Researchers said they found that people who consumed higher amounts of plant-based proteins and less red meat and poultry experienced increased cardiovascular and metabolic benefits.
The researchers randomly assigned 294 sedentary people with moderate obesity (defined as a BMI of 31) into three dietary groups.
A significant majority of participants were male. Their average age was 51.
The first group received guidance on boosting physical activity and basic guidelines for achieving a healthy diet.
The second group received the same physical activity guidance plus advice on following a calorie-restricted, traditional Mediterranean diet.
Their menu was low in simple carbohydrates, rich in vegetables, and with poultry and fish replacing red meat.
The third group received all of the above, plus 3 to 4 cups of green tea as well as 28 grams of walnuts per day.
Their daily menu also included 100 grams of frozen Wolffia globosa (cultivated Mankai strain) cubes, a high protein form of the aquatic plant duckweed.
The cubes were taken as a green plant-based protein shake as a partial substitute for animal protein.
The study authors said in a press release that their findings suggest further limiting meat intake while increasing plant-based, protein-rich foods may benefit the cardiometabolic state even more.
And it may reduce cardiovascular risk beyond the known beneficial effects of the traditional Mediterranean diet.
After 6 months, the “green Med” diet surpassed the other two dietary plans in associated health benefits.
Participants on either type of Mediterranean diet lost more weight. The green Med group lost a total of 6.2 kilograms, the traditional Mediterranean diet group lost 5.4 kilograms, and the healthy diet group lost 1.5 kilograms.
Waist circumference shrank by an average of 8.6 centimeters among those on the green Med diet compared with 6.8 centimeters for those on the Mediterranean diet and 4.3 centimeters for those on the healthy diet.
The green Med group also saw the greatest reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol with a nearly 4 percent decrease.
The equivalent figures were nearly 1 percent for those in the Mediterranean diet group and even less than that for those in the healthy diet group.
Participants following Mediterranean-based diets also reaped additional health benefits that included decreases in diastolic blood pressure, insulin resistance, and an important marker of inflammation, C-reactive protein, which has an essential role in artery hardening.
The ratio of HDL (good) cholesterol to LDL (bad) cholesterol also increased.