It’s hard to beat the heart health benefits of a Green Mediterranean diet plan, emphasizing whole foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, seafood, and lean meats.
But the new green Mediterranean Diet Plan has been making a lot of noise lately – and may offer better benefits than the original diet.
The Green Mediterranean Diet Plan follows many of the same basic principles as the original.
However, the green version contains more plants and fewer animal products (even though it’s not 100 percent vegetarian or vegan yet).
Here’s what you need to know about the latest herbal nutrition plan.
What Foods Are Allowed on the Green Mediterranean Diet?
The Green Mediterranean Diet Plan is based on many of the same foods as the original version, including:
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- nuts and seeds
- olive oil
- lean proteins like fish, eggs, and dairy
However, there are some improvements.
The Green Mediterranean Diet Plan is based on recent studies on the Mediterranean Diet’s effects, including more plant foods and fewer animal products.
The researchers classified the participants into three groups. One group followed healthy eating guidelines for six months. one follows the original Mediterranean diet, and the other follows the Green Mediterranean Diet Plan, which makes the following changes to the original:
- Add 1 ounce of walnuts and 3 to 4 cups of green tea per day.
- For dinner, replace animal protein with a plant-based protein shake containing 100 grams of frozen Wolffia globose cubes (also known as duck).
- Limit poultry.
- Avoid red meat and processed meats (such as hot dogs and salami).
What Are the Benefits of the Green Mediterranean Diet Plan?
Studies show that the original Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet that can benefit heart health and maintain a healthy weight.
The Mediterranean green diet appears to enhance some of these health benefits.
In the above study, participants following the Mediterranean Green Diet plan experienced a more significant increase in their Framingham risk score (which assesses cardiovascular risk) than the other groups.
The Mediterranean green diet group also had more significant reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) than the traditional Mediterranean diet (which also improves this important condition).
Specific ingredients of the Mediterranean Green Diet can contribute to this additional benefit.
- Researchers believe that compounds in plants called polyphenols and fiber, plant protein, and unsaturated fats may benefit heart health.
- Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet and helps maintain digestive health.
- Studies show that Wolffia globose, also known as duck, is a high-quality protein source that contains nine essential amino acids and provides fiber.
Research also shows that eating red meat (which is banned in green versions of the diet) may be associated with an increased risk of certain cardiovascular risks, says Shannon Henry, RD, of the EZCare Clinic.
Can You Lose Weight on the Green Mediterranean Diet?
“Mediterranean Greens can be effective for weight loss as long as you don’t normally exceed your daily calorie needs,” says Trista Best, M.P.H., R.D., L.D.
In the study, participants in the Green Mediterranean Diet Plan lost an average of 13.66 pounds in six months.
Following the original Mediterranean diet, the group lost an average of 11.9 kilograms, while the healthy diet group lost an average of 3.3 kilograms.
(Both the green and native Mediterranean diet groups are low-calorie diets, and all diets are combined with physical activity.)
Participants who followed the Mediterranean Green Diet also experienced a greater waist circumference reduction than the other groups.
“Due to the high-fiber dietary filling properties found in diets, some people may lose weight by switching to a green Mediterranean diet,” says Jen Bruning, R.D.N., spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Although this study’s results are promising, it is the only study published to date assessing a Mediterranean green diet, and the study participants were predominantly male (88 percent).
Further research is needed to confirm the results of this study.
“The different ingredients of the Green Mediterranean – less red meat, more vegetables, green tea – have their own evidence to improve health,” says Bruning. “The combination is likely to have these benefits as well, although more evidence is needed to explain overall eating patterns.”
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