Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mediterranean Diet: Not for The Poor

Italian researchers at the Catholic University of Campobasso have made the disturbing discovery that the Mediterranean Diet and its health benefits is largely inaccessible to the poor.

The study investigated whether the increasing cost of the main food products in the Mediterranean Diet coupled with the progressive impoverishment of people was contributing to the obesity pandemic affecting the countries of the Mediterranean area, including Italy.

Researchers analyzed information on income and dietary habits of over 13,000 people from the Molise region of Italy. They found that a relatively small economic difference -- 10,000 to over 40,000 Euros net per year -- led to substantial differences in dietary habits and health outcomes. Low-income people were least likely to maintain a Mediterranean Diet as compared to those in the uppermost group of income, and were more likely to consume prepackaged or junk foods that are cheaper than the fresh foods of the Mediterranean tradition.

The lowest-income category also showed a higher rate of obesity as well, at 36% of the sample compared to 20% in the uppermost income class.

Source: Moli-sani Project

Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies
Artwork: Cucina Italiana

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mediterranean Diet Larder List

In the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies, authors Meri Raffetto and Wendy Jo Peterson offer the following list of suggested Mediterranean staples to keep on hand and replenished regularly on your grocery list.

> Whole-wheat sandwich bread
> Whole-wheat crusty loaves like French bread

Grains and Pasta
> Cheese tortellini
> Bulgur wheat
> Favorite pastas such as spaghetti, penne, or vermicelli
> Pearl barley
> Polenta

Dairy Case
> Cheeses such as mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, and crumbled feta and goat cheese
> Lowfat cottage cheese
> Lowfat milk
> Lowfat yogurt

> Any fresh fruit
> Avocadoes
> Fresh or frozen berries with no sugar added
> Fruit canned in its own juice
> Olives

Vegetables and Herbs
> Fresh, frozen, or canned veggies
> Fresh or dried herbs

Protein foods
> Assorted nuts or nut butters (such as peanut butter)
> Chicken
> Dried or canned legumes
> Eggs
> Fish or seafood
> Lean beef
> Lean deli meats
> Pork
> Prosciutto

> Olive oil for cooking
> High-quality or flavored extra-virgin olive oil for dipping

Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mediterranean Diet Benefits Arteries

Research at the University of Montreal has revealed that while a single meal of "junk food" – composed mainly of saturated fat – is damaging to the arteries, a comparable Mediterranean meal rich in mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids imposes no such damage, and may even be beneficial.

By measuring endothelial function on the inner lining of blood vessels, the researchers were able to determine how easily the arteries dilate following the two types of meals.

In the study of 28 non-smoking men who ate a Mediterranean-type meal first and a junk food-type meal one week later, the team found that after eating the junk food meal the men's arteries dilated 24% less than they did when in the fasting state. In contrast, their arteries dilated normally and maintained good blood flow after the Mediterranean-type meal.

The study also revealed that participants with higher blood triglyceride levels seemed to benefit more from the healthy meals. Their arteries responded better to the Mediterranean meal compared to people with low triglyceride levels.

"We believe that a Mediterranean-type diet may be particularly beneficial for individuals with high triglyceride levels, such as patients with metabolic syndrome, precisely because it could help keep arteries healthy," said Dr. Anil Nigam, Director of Research at the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Centre (ÉPIC) .

"These results will positively alter how we eat on a daily basis. Poor endothelial function is one of the most significant precursors of atherosclerosis. It is now something to think about at every meal."

Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies
Artwork: Large Artery

Monday, September 3, 2012

More Legumes = Lower Blood Pressure

A new study published in Archives of Iranian Medicine suggests that eating a Mediterranean diet with large amounts of legumes can help prevent metabolic syndrome.

The study showed that individuals with metabolic syndrome consumed only 1.4 servings per week of legumes, compared to 2.3 servings per week for controls.

Eighty men and women with diagnosed metabolic syndrome and 160 age and gender-matched healthy controls were enlisted for the study. Anthropometric parameters, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, and lipid profiles were measured by standard methods.

Men and women with the highest legume intake had decreased mean systolic blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, and increased HDL cholesterol levels, compared to those whose intake of legume was lowest.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ingredients in the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is made up of an abundance of fruits and vegetables, along with legumes and fish.

Poultry, cheese, yogurt, milk and eggs are included, but in smaller amounts.

White meat is eaten sparingly, and red meat even less often.

Olive oil is perhaps the most defining ingredient of the diet. It is consumed in almost every Mediterranean meal along with red wine.

Saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods are generally avoided.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Produce and Whole Grains

Produce (vegetables and fruit) and whole grains make up 80% of a Mediterranean Diet by volume. That's four out of every five dishes or servings.

Fill the plate with asparagus, dates, avocadosguavas, oranges, sweet potatoes and the like this time of year. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Losing Weight

The Mediterranean diet is not a diet, per se, but a way of life, a way of eating.

"It's a series of healthy lifestyle choices that can get you to your weight loss goal while you eat delicious, flavorful foods and get out and enjoy life," Meri Raffetto and Wendy Jo Peterson explain in Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies.

The lifestyle changes include exercising regularly, eating more slowly, avoiding stress, eating smaller portions, and consuming primarily fruits, vegetables and grains.

Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies 
Review: Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies

Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies
by Meri Raffetto and Wendy Jo Peterson
For Dummies, 2011

The diet of Mediterraneans is credited by health professionals for lower rates of coronary artery disease, diabetes and fewer cancers among their population as compared to Americans.  Consuming lots of fruits and vegetables, legumes, olive oil, fish and poultry, nuts, cheese and yogurt, and red wine obviously has benefits, along with a less stressful and more active lifestyle.

While primarily a cookbook with 160 recipes inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, this book is also an introduction to the lifestyle of the region and how that influences food choices and meal planning.