Once upon a time, researchers wanted to study how certain diets could affect people’s heart and metabolic health.
They asked people with abdominal obesity (extra weight around their belly) and dyslipidaemia (high levels of unhealthy fats in their blood) to join their study.
The researchers divided the participants into three groups: one group received general healthy eating advice, another group followed a traditional Mediterranean diet (which is known to be good for heart health), and the last group followed a “green” Mediterranean diet.
The “green” Mediterranean diet was a special version of the Mediterranean diet that included more plant-based foods (like green tea and a type of plant-based protein shake made from a plant called Wolffia globosa), and less meat than the traditional Mediterranean diet.
All three groups also did a physical activity.
The researchers looked at how these diets affected the participants’ health over six months.
They found that both the traditional Mediterranean diet and the “green” Mediterranean diet helped people lose weight, but the “green” Mediterranean diet seemed to have even more benefits.
People in the “green” Mediterranean diet group lost more inches around their waist and had better cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
They also had lower levels of a marker of inflammation in their blood, which is a sign of better overall health.
The “green” Mediterranean diet seemed especially good for men, but it was still beneficial for everyone who tried it.
The researchers concluded that adding more plant-based foods and cutting back on meat in a Mediterranean-style diet can be even better for heart and metabolic health.
What to eat to protect metabolic health
To protect metabolic health, it’s important to focus on eating a healthy and balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Here are some tips on what to eat to protect your metabolic health:
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables: These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and can help lower the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Choose whole grains: Whole grains are a great source of fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat bread.
Include lean proteins: Lean proteins like chicken, fish, and tofu can help build and repair muscle, and can also help regulate blood sugar levels.
Add healthy fats: Foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil are great sources of healthy fats, which can help reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.
Limit processed and sugary foods: Processed and sugary foods can contribute to insulin resistance and other metabolic problems. Try to limit your intake of these foods and focus on whole, nutrient-dense options instead.
Overall, a healthy and balanced diet that includes plenty of whole foods, lean proteins, healthy fats, and limited processed and sugary foods can help protect metabolic health.
It’s also important to stay physically active, get enough sleep, and manage stress to support overall health and well-being.
The research was published in Heart and was conducted by Gal Tsaban et al.
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