Mediterranean diet for Longevity and Weight loss

mediterranean

We take a look at the Mediterranean diet. The evidence - and the recipes!

Article Contents:

The Research

The Menu

The Recipes

Evidence for the Mediterranean diet

The traditional diet consumed by people living around the Mediterranean Sea is high in fish, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, lean meats, and wholegrains.

Scientists have been interested in this diet for over 40 years because of the low rate of heart disease and increased longevity in people form these countries. Current research found that people following the Mediterranean diet suffered 9% fewer deaths from all causes of death. The diet also reduced the risk of developing Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease by 13%. The analysis of these studies included 1.5 million people who were studied for 3 to 18 years. (1)

The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of obesity and being overweight by 51%. When compared to a low carbohydrate diet for weight loss, the Mediterranean diet is a more effective strategy. It produces postive changes in fasting plasma glucose and insulin. It reduces sugar cravings and shifts metabolism so that fat is burned, not stored. (2) The Mediterranean diet works because it is low in energy density, low in glyceamic load, and high in beneficial essential fatty acids. (3)

Essential fatty acids from fish and green vegetables make you skinny! When combined with regular exercise fish oil reduces body fat mass and stimulates fat burning. A recent study looked at the individual and combined affects of fish oil supplements and exercise on body composition. Subjects that took 6g/day of tuna oil and walked 45min three times a week had improved blood lipid levels, and improved circulation. This directly resulted in an increase in fat oxidation and subsequent fat loss! (4)

Newly diagnosed diabetics can reduce their need for medication by following the mediterranean diet. Only 44% of patients on a mediterranean diet required sugar lowering medication compared to 70% of patients who followed a standard low fat diet. (5)

Click here for references

So what does this diet look like? Here is an example of what a 3 day eating plan should look like.

The Menu

 

Weekday 1Weekday 2Weekend
BreakfastBreakfastBreakfast
One whole tomato
1 tbsp of onion diced finely
1 tsp of olive oil mixed with pinch salt and fresh oregano
two slices of spelt, rye or gluten free bread
Half an avocado with pinch of salt
Two rye crackers
fresh fruit
2 eggs
Two slices of spelt, kamut, gluten free bread
olives
fresh fruit
LunchLunchLunch
Lentil soup with brown rice and a lettuce salad Chickpea soup with tomato/cucumber salad
Two slices of spelt, kamut, gluten free bread
Large serving organic baby spinach with olive oil and apple cider vinager dressing
Free range chicken breast = 7
Avocado
DinnerDinnerDinner
Grilled fish
Baked lemon potatoes
Chicory salad
Mixed vegetable bake
Cabbage and carrot salad
Polenta or quinoa
2 Salmon cutlets with butter and tomoato and fresh herb coulis
Potatoes
Fresh rocket salad
SnackSnack 
Fresh fruit Handful of raw almonds or raw mixed nuts and seeds
DessertDessert 
Fresh blueberries
Coconut milk
Herbal tea and lemon Quality dark chocolate (70%)
Mineral water with fresh lemon

 

Recipes

Mixed vegetable bake

Serves: 4 people

Ingredients:

  • 500g of zucchini
  • 500g of eggplant
  • 8 tablespoons of olive
  • 4 medium onions chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 250g of green capsicum
  • 1 tin of canned tomatoes
  • Salt, pepper, chilli and oregano to taste

1. Wash the eggplants, trim the stalks and cut crosswise into 5 mm thick slices. Place in a bowl of cold, salted water for about 20 minutes to draw out any bitter juices. Trim, wash and dry the zucchinis, and slice them.

2. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes and onions. Peel and finely chop the garlic.

3. Pre heat the oven to 180C. Drain the eggplants and pat dry. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over high heat and fry the eggplants, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides. Place fried eggplants on absorbent paper.

4. Arrange the sliced eggplants in a layer in a deep ovenproof dish.

5. Lightly seasoning between each layer with a little salt and pepper. Place potatoes as a next layer followed by the zucchini, parsley and green capsicum.

6. Mix the reserved oil from the frying pan with onions, chilli, garlic and tomatoes. Cooking in pot until mixture is warm. Add 500 ml of water to tomato mixture, then pour over vegetables in casserole dish. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes. Check every 10 minutes to ensure that there is sufficient water.

Lentil soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 500g of dried lentil
  • 1500 mls of water
  • 120g of raw onion
  • 4g of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 200g of tomato puree
  • salt and pepper to taste to taste

Place the dried lentils in a saucepan with water and allow to boil for about 30 minutes or until tender. Finely dice the onion and garlic. add the tomato puree and olive oil into the saucepan with the lentils. Add salt and pepper to taste. bring to a boil and allow to cook over gentle heat for a further 30 minutes.

Chickpea soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 320g of dried chickpeas
  • 900 mls of water
  • 200g of onion
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Soak the chickpeas over night in water (about 12 hours).

Drain and rinse the chickpeas thoroughly.

In a separate pot sate the onion with olive oil until the onion has browned. Add the water, chickpeas, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Bring to boil and simmer until chickpeas are tender (about 30 minutes.

Tomato salad

Serves 2

  • 2 whole tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of chopped onion
  • 1 whole medium cucumber
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

Cabbage & carrot salad

Serves 2

  • 2 cups of sliced cabbage
  • 2 tbsp of grated carrot
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

(For more answers to your weight loss questions,check out Truth about Hunger article, Prana Index diet, and the Weight Loss Quiz.)

Appointments at Sensible-Alternative

For professional advice regarding the Mediterranean diet, please make an appointment with one of our Naturopaths.

Lara Briden or Sophie Glietzman - Sydney, Australia

Sydney CBD - Lane Cove - North Sydney

To reach our Receptionist Lisa on our Sydney phone number: 02 8011 1994

To email Lisa, please click here.

 

  1. Eric Brunner and Hiroyasu Iso. Fish oil and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. BMJ 2008;337:a2541, doi: 10.1136/bmj.a2541 (Published 23 December 2008).
  2. Iris Shai, R.D., Ph.D., Dan Schwarzfuchs, M.D., Yaakov Henkin, M.D.,Weight loss with low fat, Mediterranean or low carbohydrate diet New England J Med 359:229-241 July 17 2008.
  3. Obesity reviews, 9:582-593,2008
  4. Hill AM, Buckley JD, Murphy KJ, Howe PR. Combining fish oil supplements with regular exercise improves body composition and cardiovascular disease risk factors . Am J Clin Nutr, 2007;85:1267-74.
  5. Esposito, K et al. Effects of a Mediterranean-style diet on the need for antihyperglycemic drug therapy in patients with newly diagnosed tyep 2 diabetes: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2009; 151(5): 306-314.

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