Healthy salad on wooden table

Tips For Changing Your Diet

It’s time to face facts. You’ve outgrown your diet- in more ways than one. Your waistline has matured and its time for your tastes to do the same. It’s come down to saying goodbye to your Oreos or your skinny jeans, and nothing comes between you and your Calvins. You need to revamp your diet or restock your closet, and you’ve made your choice. The only thing is, you’ve gotten so comfortable eating junk food, you don’t know where to start. Hold on to your cutoffs; here are some tips for changing your diet.

It’s Hard
We’ve all heard the expression, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but that doesn’t mean there are no exceptions. John Foreyt, PhD, says, “Many people are skeptical about changing their diets because they have grown accustomed to eating or drinking the same foods, and there is fear of the unknown or trying something new.”

He also notes the tendency to lapse into old habits during times of stress. “Everything can be going along just fine until you hit a rough patch.” To combat these feelings, Foreyt advises that you acknowledge the habits you want to fix, figure out why you have these habits, and make a plan to slowly change your bad habits into healthy ones.

Steps to Fixing Bad Eating Habits

Go slowly
Make changes slowly. Experts recommend starting each day with a good breakfast and getting 8 hours of sleep a night to avoid stress eating.

Work on structuring your meal habits. Eat seated at a table without distractions and try to eat more frequently with family. Try to learn to eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are full.

Make dietary changes. Aim to reduce portion sizes by 20% and no second helpings. Use whole grain bread for sandwiches and swap mayo for mustard. Flavor coffee with skim milk instead of cream and eat a healthy meal or snack every few hours.

Mother and daughter making salad

Change your cooking methods. Use cooking spray and nonstick pans instead of oil to reduce fat and experiment with more nutritional ways of cooking, like roasting, baking, grilling, or poaching.

Drink more water and cut down on sugary sodas and juices. Limit alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks per day. Try to eat large portions of foods with high water content, like salads and veggies, instead of calorie dense foods, and flavor foods with herbs, vinegar, lemon, or mustard instead of fattening sauces.

Pay Attention
Become more aware of what you’re eating. Keri Gans, MS, RD, advises, “Read food labels. Become familiar with lists of ingredients and start to take notice of everything you put into your mouth.” Once you begin to assess your diet, you will probably realize the need for improvement.

New Week New Goal
Maybe one week your goal will be to try a new vegetable, or a new exercise. Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much at one time. Take it slow and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Be a Realist
Don’t expect to see results right away and keep in mind that it usually takes about a month to adapt to new habits.

Diet planning

Have a Plan
Be specific. “To say ‘I am going to work our more,’ won’t help you,” says Gans, “what will help is thinking about when and how you can fit it into your lifestyle.” Plan certain days on which you will go to the gym and stock up on healthy food.

Manage Stress
Change can be stressful. To handle it, Foreyt advises, “Focus on dealing with stress through exercise, meditation, or whatever works for you, so you don’t fall back into those bad habits during periods of stress or use food to help you cope with the situation.”

Are you working on changing your eating habits? Let us know how its going and add your comments and suggestions!

Woman with insomnia

Foods That Fight Insomnia

If you suffer from insomnia, you may look back nostalgically on Thanksgiving nights falling asleep in front of the TV with the taste of sweet potato casserole still lingering on your tongue. While it’s easy to understand how the concept of self-induced food coma may seem tempting to the sleep deprived, it may not be the best health option, and there is only so much leftover turkey one can take.

However, that is not to say there is not a link between eating and sleeping. There is scientific proof that certain foods are more conducive to sleep than others. But before you establish running credit at the deli counter, you may want to know your options.

Walnuts
No only do walnuts contain heart-healthy fats, they also have been found to contain melatonin, a bodily hormone that plays a role in regulating sleep cycle. Dr. Erin Palinski Wade, RD, CDE says, “Try snacking on a small handful about 20 minutes before bed to help you relax and reach a deeper state of restful sleep.”

Walnuts

Bananas
In addition to having high levels of serotonin and melatonin, bananas are also packed with magnesium. Magnesium promotes sleep by decreasing levels of cortisol in the body, a hormone know to interrupt sleep patterns. Although eating the fruit itself has its calming benefits, most of the sleep-inducing power is in the peel. The daring may consider sprinkling banana peels with cinnamon to make them more palatable.

Tart Cherry Juice
A study published in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology tracked the effectiveness of tart cherry juice, which contains melatonin, on older adult insomniacs. The participants who were given 8 oz of tart cherry juice twice a day slept an average of 87 minutes longer each night than those who received a placebo. Nutritionist Kayleen St. John, RD, explains, “Other study data has shown a significant elevation in melatonin in groups consuming cherry juice.”

Basil
Palinski Wade says, ” The plant contains sedative properties, which can help you fall and stay asleep. And as a bonus, it not only helps promote sleep, but is great for reducing indigestion,” a further sleep interrupter. She continues, “Research on this shows the sedative properties come mostly form the hydroalcoholic extract and essential oil of O. basilicum.” She points out that liquid basil extracts are available at the market and can “be used to flavor food, as a supplement, or as an essential oil.

Basil

Milk
It seems the common beliefs about the sleep-promoting abilities of milk are not without merit. “Milk may control melatonin production since it is a great source of calcium, ” Palinski-Wade explains. “Milk is also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which has a calming effect on the body.”

Vitamin B6
According to Mary Hartley, RD, ” When we fall asleep, levels of serotonin rise and adrenaline levels fall. Serotonin, the relaxing hormone, is partly made from the amino acid, tryptophan, which is activated by Vitamin B6.” Fortunately, B6 can be found in a wide variety of foods, such as potatoes, fortified breakfast cereal, chicken, fish, peanut butter, fish, bananas, and several vegetables, so deficiencies are uncommon.

Do you go to the fridge when insomnia strikes? Tell us about it. And let us know how the cinnamon banana peels turned out!

Woman eating burger

Taming Your Fast Food Craving

Are you a fast food junkie? Do you religiously monitor news reports and commercial advertisements to hear the latest concoction your favorite fast food restaurant has on offer? Were you the first to try the Taco Bell Naked Fried Chicken Chalupa? Do you regularly challenge your new friends to Doritos Loaded eating contest? Are you willing to travel several miles out of your way to the nearest Weinerschnitzel to eat “Pastrami with your Mommy?” If so, have you read the nutritional information on that stuff?

Fast food can be hard to resist. After all, how can you compete with companies willing to spend millions of dollars on discovering the right level of crunch in a potato chip? But there are ways to fight back. Read on to find out how you can tame your fast food craving.

Why We Crave

Vanishing Food Density
Cheetos are a classic example of a food with vanishing caloric density. It melts in for mouth quickly, before your brain realizes there are calories in it. The result? Your brain thinks you’re not eating as much as you are and you overeat.

Sensory Response
The brain craves variety. The more familiar the brain becomes with a food, the less pleasure it will derive from it. Fast foods are designed to provide enough taste to remain interesting without dulling the sensory response. This is why many fast foods are covered with sauces and glazes.

Memories
When you eat something you like, the pleasurable response is registered in your brain, creating a trigger. Every time you see or even think about that food, memories and responses can cause cravings, and even physical responses, like salivation.

How To Fight Back

Woman with healthy groceries

Rules and Strategies
Research has shown that the less junk food you eat, the less you will crave it. Your first step in fighting your fast food craving is by cutting down on processed and packaged food.

Try using the “outer ring” strategy at the grocery store. If you aim to purchase foods on the outer ring of the store, you will generally be selecting from whole foods like meats, eggs and produce.

Also, try and follow the “five ingredient rule” and avoid buying foods with more than five ingredients, which are more likely to contain empty calories.

Choose From a Wide Variety of Foods
The brain needs novelty to remain stimulated. If your craving the crunch of a Nacho, you may not be able to replicate the taste, but you may be able to get a similar sensation by dipping a celery stick in hummus. Try and get creative with food textures and flavors to keep things interesting.

Learn To Cope with Stress
Stress causes the brain to release chemicals, like opiates and neuropeptide, Y that trigger mechanisms similar to those you get from sugar and fat. Learn to handle stressful situations without reaching for junk food. Try a simple breathing exercise or quick meditation. Exercise and activity are also great stress relievers and can provide distractions from food cravings.

If you have a mild fast food obsession, how do you control your cravings? Let us know how you managed to avoid the lure of the Bacon Cheese.

Roast chicken and toast on table

Your Chicken Should Be Antibiotic Free

The dating world can be scary these days. Everyone is looking to have Fun Ways To Move Morefun, but when it comes to starting long term relationships, you need to know some vital information about your partner’s past. After all, if your going to be putting parts of a person’s body into your body, you need to know where those body parts have been. The same can be said of your chicken. If that chicken is going to be in your mouth and stomach, you should know a little about this chicken, especially whether of not this chicken is antibiotic free. Why? Read on to find out.

Harmful to Human Health
The use of antibiotic on farm animals have been amped up in recent years. Fifteen to seventeen million pounds go the drug are freely administered on a yearly basis. The goal of this is not only to keep animal healthy in general, but also to prevent sickness in animals raised in unsanitary conditions. The results have been anything but healthful. The overuse of antibiotics has resulted in the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria strains, superbugs, if you will, and, since poultry products usually carry more than one bacterial strain, it is becoming more likely the meat you buy is contaminated.

In fact, a recent study from the Environmental working group found that 81% of ground turkey, 69% of pork chops, 55 % of ground beef, and 39% of chicken wings and thighs are tainted with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria like E. coli and salmonella.

Add to that the fact that the antibiotics used to treat chicken are similar to those that are used on humans and the threat to public health increases. Dr. Glenn Morris says that humans who ingest the resistant bacteria may not respond to antibiotic treatment. The risk for children is higher due to less mature immune systems.

Happy hens

Government Response
It would not be an exaggeration to say our government’s response to this danger was underwhelming. In 2013, the FDA declared a “voluntary strategy” asking that drug companies limit the amount of antibiotics in animal feed. While the association released a statement acknowledging the use of antimicrobial drugs as “an important health concern,” and recommended “judicious use of the drugs, the call carries no penalty for failure to comply and is open to ambiguous interpretation.

Antibiotic Chicken
Despite the weak response from the FDA, consumers can be proactive in avoiding the consumption of contaminated chicken. A 2012 Consumer Reports studies found antibiotic free products at 119 stores, including, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s. The “no antibiotics” chickens were reasonably priced and, in some cases, actually cost less than the average price of chicken breasts nation-wide. Panera Bread is a leading restaurant in the increasing availability of antibiotic-free products, including chicken, pork. and turkeys, a trend that we will hopefully be seeing more of in the near future. Until then, you can keep yourself informed at RealTimeFarms.com.

What are you doing to avoid eating unhealthy foods? Let us know! We want to hear your recommendations and suggestions!

Grilled cod fish and vegetables

Updated Advice For Eating Fish While Pregnant

Fans of Lucille Ball may remember episodes of “I Love Lucy” in which Lucy was pregnant with “Little Ricky.” One such episode played on the stereotypical craving of the pregnant women, with Lucy sending Ricky out in the middle of the night to find a store that makes a papaya milkshake, sardines to mix in and a pickle to dip in the concoction. The episode ends with Lucy switching the recipe to sardines with pistachio ice cream and hot fudge. (Take that, Ben and Jerry.) Apparently, Lucille Ball never ate sardines again.

Over the years, there has been a lot of debate about the sagacity of eating fish while pregnant. Recently the Federal government has issued new advice that may have made Lucy think twice before she gave up on the sardines.

New Findings
You may be familiar with the guidelines issued by the FDA recommending maximum amounts of fish that pregnant and breastfeeding women should consume, but you may not be aware, that the groups are now promoting a minimum amount as well. Apparently, new scientific findings uncovered evidence that the importance of pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children eating appropriate amounts of fish needs to be underscored.

According to Stephen Ostroff, MD, and acting chief scientist for the FDA, “Emerging science now tells us that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on important nutrients that can have a positive impact on growth and development as well as on our general health.”

Woman on sofa

How Much Is Enough?
An FDA analysis of over 1,000 women revealed that 21% ate no fish in the previous month and that those who did ate far less than is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The updated draft recommends that pregnant women eat between 8-12 ounces per week of a variety of low-mercury fish for healthy fetal development.

Nancy Stoner, the EPA’s acting administrator for the Office of Water says, “Eating fish with lower levels of mercury provides numerous health and dietary benefits. This updated advice will help pregnant women and mothers make informed decisions about the right amount and right kinds of fish to eat during important times in their lives and their children’s lives.”

What Kind Of Fish Is Best? Worst?
Included in the draft is advice cautioning breastfeeding and pregnant women against fish known to contain high mercury levels. Such fish include swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. The women are also advised to limit consumption of white tuna to 6 ounces a week. Less mercurial and recommended options include pollock, salmon, shrimp, canned light tuna, catfish, cod, and tialpia. Women are also instructed to follow fish advisories from local authorities, if available. If such information is not available, women are advised to limit intake of fish to 6 ounces a week for themselves and 1 to 3 ounces for children.

What do you think about the new guidelines? Let us know! Do you know something we don’t?

Woman measuring her dress size

What It Takes To Drop Two Dress Sizes

You just got an invite to your high school reunion. Great, right? You’ve stayed chummy with all your old friends through social media; now you’ll get some time to catch up face to face. There’s only one problem. The picture on your Facebook page is about two years old and you’ve gone up about two dress sizes since you took it. What are you going to do? You can’t possibly show up looking like you spent the last ten years channel surfing with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s! You need to drop two dress sizes and you need to start now! What can you do?
Well, Khloe Kardashian did it, Jennifer Hudson did it, and Oprah Winfrey did it, several times! Here’s what you need to do to drop two dress sizes in a few weeks time.

Eating
Leading naturopath Max Tomlinson says, “You need to be clever with your diet to see optimum results, especially within a relatively short time frame. Crash dieting or starvation will only lead to weight gain down the line,” These are some of the suggestions Max recommends:

Eat Regularly
If you skip meals, your body will store the food you eat rather than burning it as a source of energy. Regular eating will kick start your metabolism and help you lose weight. Breakfast is the most important meal for raising metabolic rate and ensuring that the body uses food effectively for the remainder of the day.

Control Portions
Try to reduce food intake by 45 percent. Try to consume 1,000 calories per day to lose weight without slowing metabolism.

What to Eat
Avoid empty calories and make sure to eat food that is nutrient rich. Plan a menu consisting of foods such as organic fish, eggs, poultry, lean meat, brown rice, quinoa and oats. Satisfy the RDA with two servings of fruit and three of vegetables, sticking to leafy greens and avoiding peas and sugar rich roots vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes.

What Not to Eat
Steer clear of junk food and saturated fats. Restrict dairy intake, or cut it out completely, and replace it with goat milk and soy cheese. Limit treats like cakes and chips and don’t drink too many fluids. Many people up their liquid intake when they diet, but water can be taxing on your kidneys causing poor digestion and bloating.

Training
Tomlinson says, “When you diet without exercise, at least half of your weight comes for lean body mass. (muscle and non-fat tissue.) This slows your metabolism, setting you up for weight regain as soon as you increase your food intake.” Here’s one of the exercises Tomlinson suggests for his celebrity clientele.

Pile Squats
Stand with your feet a hip-width apart with your feet turned out holding dumbbells in each hand with your palms facing inward. Put your weight on your heals and squat, curling arms to your shoulders and keeping your elbows tucked in. Hold squat, and push your arms up, locking your elbows. Lower arms and come out of squat. Repeat 20-30 times.

Let us know your tips for keeping slim and, if you ever dropped a dress size or two, we’d love to hear how you did it! Let us know!

Fresh potatoes on table

The Health Benefits of Potatoes

So you go to your favorite juice joint and order your lunchtime smoothie? What do you put in it? Almond milk, coconut milk, carrot juice, ginger? What about potato juice? “Potato juice,” you say, “is that even a thing?” And if it is, do you want it? After all, aren’t potatoes full of starch and carbohydrates? Last you heard, the only thing potatoes were good for is making fries, chips, and vodka. Well, prepare to have your mind blown!

Potato juice has a long history of being used as a remedy for everything from skin disorders to inflammation to cancer and is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. Have a look at the endless benefits for yourself.

For Your Skin

Dark Circles
If dark circles under the eyes are one of your pet peeves, here’s potato juice to the rescue. Just soak some cotton balls in spud juice and place them under your eyes before you go to sleep. In a week, the dark circles should be things of the past.

Anti-Aging
Applying a face mask made with potato juice and curd is a great way to reduce fine lines and hydrate skin. Mix potato juice with olive oil to help eliminate dark circles and crow’s feet.

Blemishes
The anti-inflammatory properties in potato juice is an effective acne treatment. Apply directly to blemishes for best results.

Angular Cheilitis and Eczema
Angular cheilitis is a skin disorder which causes swelling and redness of the corners of the mouth. Potato juice is an anti-inflammatory that can help tone down lesions when applied to the affected area. Potato juice also contains vitamin B complex which can prevent vitamin B deficiency associated with this condition. Drinking potato juice can also be used to treat eczema, another common skin disorder.

For Your Hair

Hair Loss
If you want to speed up hair growth, mix potato juice with egg white and honey. Apply to hair and let it sit for two hours before rinsing with a mild shampoo and water.

Dry Hair
A combination of aloe vera and potato juice can restore the moisture to dry, fly-away hair.

Grey Hair
Use potato juice to rinse shampoo from your hair instead of water to darken gray hair and give it a radiant glow.

For Your Health

Detox
Another benefit of spud juice is its ability to flush toxins from the body. Toxin overload can break down the immune system. Drinking potato juice can ward off health problems caused by bacterial and fungal infection by detoxifying and boosting immune resistance.

Joint Pain and Arthritis
Potato juice’s ability to perform as an anti-inflammatory makes it a great remedy for gout, back pain, joint pain, and arthritis. Drink it before breakfast in the morning for optimal effect.

Weight Loss
Drink it twice daily to help you slim down–once in the morning on an empty stomach and again two or three hours before you hit the hay.

Digestion
Drink potato juice on a regular basis to improve digestion and thwart constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and indigestion. It is also known to have positive effects for those who suffer from GERD and can be used to treat peptic ulcers when combined with carrot juice.

What do you know about potato juice? Let us know how you get the most out of your spuds!

Peaches and Plums

Foods For Breast Health

We ladies sure seem to obsess about out breasts. We enlarge them, reduce them, push them up, plunge them down, stick adhesives on them, pad them, powder them, rouge them, pamper them and scent them with perfumes and after bath sprays. We even do exercises at the gym to keep them at their peak. But do we make sure they are getting proper nutrition? Maybe not.

We owe a lot to our breasts, and we know what can happen if we don’t take care of them, and usually that care entails a lot more than just picking the right bra. Cheryl L. Rock, Ph.D, RD, professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California says, “A woman can cut her chance of cancer by as much as two-thirds with good nutrition and weight management.” If you are concerned with the health of your breasts, here are some foods that might help you out with that.

Peaches and Plums
According to researchers at Texas A and M, peaches and plums have levels of antioxidants that pose a threat to the celebrated superfruits known as blueberries. The two p’s contain two varieties of polyphenols, antioxidants that may help to destroy breast cancer cells while leaving healthier cells intact.

Walnuts
Research in the Nutrition and Cancer Journal suggest that walnuts may help to impede the spread of breast cancer. Studies on mice found that the rate of tumor growth in walnut -eating mice was half of that in a group that was not fed walnuts. Experts believe that it is the anti-inflammatory properties in walnuts that give them the ability to fight tumors.

Broccoli
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound shown to reduce breast cancer stem cells in mice, according to the University of Michigan. Although it is unclear whether the amount found in broccoli is sufficient enough to have the same effect, make sure to get the most of it by eating broccoli raw or steaming or stir frying. Boiling can lower the level of sulforaphane.

Salmon
Fish oil supplements are known for their cancer fighting characteristics. Ten years of regular consumption can shrink risk the of ductal carcinoma, the most commonly found type of breast cancer. Omega-3 fats in fish oil prevent inflammation, a known contributor to breast cancer. However, if you eat about 8 ounces of fish like salmon daily, you can skip the supplements.

Coffee
Need another reason to go to Starbucks? A May 2011 study in Breast Cancer Research finds that drinking two twelve oz cups a day can lower great cancer risk. According to study author, Jingmei Li, Ph.D, “One possibility is that coffee’s antioxidants protects cells from damage that can lead to cancer.” However, these findings are not confirmed, so you may want to wait until you become a fixture at your local coffee house.

Beans
You know what they say about beans- the more you eat…. the more your risk of breast cancer decreases. A new report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increasing fiber intake can lower the likelihood of great cancer. The research found that eating 10 grams of fiber a day (about 1/2 cup of beans) decreases risk of breast cancer by 7%.

So the next time your spending money on your lovely assets, you may want to do it in the grocery store. Let us know what you’re doing to support your breast health. We love to hear it!

Woman exercising

Get A Handle On Your Health

When it comes to health, are you a Felix or an Oscar? Maybe you remember an episode of the original Odd Couple where the two protagonists order room service. Oscar, the wild man, typically orders a rare steak with a baked potato and fried onions, while the mild-mannered Felix opts for sand dabs, cottage cheese, and weak tea. Where do you fall in? Are you the one drinking a smoothie and wielding a yoga mat headed for the nearest gym, or the one at the donut shop peering out from your stained napkin.

If you are the Oscar, you might be noticing a proliferance of healthy people out there and you may even be starting to feel that you are in danger of being run over by the relentless human race. But, buck up, you too can get a handle on your health by taking some simple steps.

To Do List for Healthy Living
Go see your doctor. Even if you’re feeling great, its always a good idea to make sure everything is running smoothly. Get yourself screened and immunized and get the answers to all of the nagging questions that may be on your mind.

Keep tabs on your height and weight and make sure you are getting in enough physical activity. The CDC recommends that adults get a minimum of two and a half hour of moderate aerobic activity and 15 minutes of more intense aerobic activity each week, plus muscle training exercises at least two days a week.

Nutririonist Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD tells you to, “Keep track of what your eating – all of it. The idea is to write it down without judgement. You can’t change what you’re not aware of or don’t acknowledge.”

Check your relationships and evaluate your mood and energy levels. Make sure your surrounded with people that enrich your life; get adequate sleep, and monitor yourself for signs of depression.

Exercise More
Not the exercise type? No such thing! Dr. Williams says there’s no need to stick with the dreaded cardio: find something you enjoy and keep track of what you’re doing. Put big Xes on the calendar on days when you exercise. A visual record will Keep you motivated. Set weekly goals rather than daily ones, so you have greater day to day freedom. That way, you can forgive yourself if you miss a day, so long as you make it up before the weekend.

Improve Your Diet
It’s all about taking back the power over food. Says Williams, ” Instead of,’I should be eating more fruits and vegetables,’ it’s, ‘I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables,’ or, ‘ I choose not to, It shows your in control, you’re making the choice. Stock the kitchen with healthy foods, so you have a healthy strategy for when cravings hit. Slow down and enjoy your food. According to Williams, “You’re much more likely to feel psychologically satisfied,'” and shoot forgive to nine servings of varied vegetables and fruits per day.

Cut Down On Stress
When it comes to handling stress, Williams has two suggestions. Routine maintenance entails the development of coping skills, like meditation or yoga to keep your stress level down. You can also breakthrough stress, by finding ways to handle stressful situations when they pop up. For example, you might run up and down the stairs to quell aggravation after a stressful encounter.

Sleep More Soundly
If sound sleep is a problem for you, Lisa Shives. MD has a few tips. The doctor advises avoiding the stimulation of computer and tv two hours before bedtime and recommends a light reading lamp that doesn’t shine into your eyes directly. She warns against vigorous exercise near bedtime and taking a hot bath to relax yourself mentally. Shives also stresses the importance of maintaining a regular sleep schedule and making good sleep a priority saying sleep is, “just as important as diet and exercise.”

Sound doable to you? Of course it does! Let us know how you’re getting a handle on your health in the New Year. We love to hear it!

Mediterranean diet

Adopting A Mediterranean Diet

If you’ve ever wondered why Mediterraneans are so good looking, the answer is obviously the diet! Mediterraneans thrive on a delicious balance of fish and vegetables, cheese, and spices drenched in pure olive oil keeping their hair thick, eyes bright, bones straight, heart healthy, and skin unwrinkled. If you have been toying with the idea of adopting a Mediterranean diet, let’s examine what it will entail.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
Why the Mediterranean diet? Research shows that the Mediterranean diet lowers heart disease and is associated with a lower level of bad cholesterol. In fact, an analysis of more than 1.5 million adults showed that the diet reduces risk of heart failure and increases overall mortality. Those who eat a Mediterranean diet are at a lower risk for cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and women who eat a diet including mixed nuts and olive oil may be less susceptible to breast cancer.

Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, and Nuts
If you travel to the Mediterranean, you will find no shortage of vegetables, fruit, rice, and pasta. Greek diets include very little red meat and an average of nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Grains are usually whole grains with few trans fats and the bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil, as opposed to trans fat, containing butter or margarine.

Although nuts are high in fat, most of it is not saturated, which means they are good fuel for your body, but excessive amounts can lead to weight gain. While nuts are a big part of the Mediterranean diet, experts recommend keeping your intake down to no more than a handful a day.

Healthy Fats
Olive oil constitutes the primary source of fat in the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is a mono saturated fat, which is known to reduce bad cholesterol when used instead of saturated fats. Virgin and extra virgin olive oils are the least processed forms of oil and contain plant compounds with antioxidant properties.

Polyunsaturated fats and mono saturated fats, such as are found in canola oil and nuts, contain Omega -3 fatty acids which decreases blood clotting, lowers triglycerides, improves blood vessel health and regulates blood pressure. Fatty fish, including sardines, mackerels, albacore tuna, and salmon is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Wine
While many doctors are reluctant to include any form of alcohol in a healthy diet, wine has been showed to reduce the risk of heart disease in some studies. The Mediterranean diet recommends limiting wine intake to no more than 5 ounces a day for women, and no more than ten ounces for men under 65. Men over 65 should keep it down to five. Higher amounts can lead to liver failure or heart disease.

Eat healthy and be gorgeous! Let us know how you plan to do your Mediterranean diet in the New Year!