As time goes on scientists are seeing the trend in the world on what is keeping people healthier and living longer. Those keys are in lifestyle, type of diet, and healthier choices and behaviors. One of those keys is that the parts of the world that sustain a Mediterranean diet have the advantage of reaping the rewards of optimal health. A Mediterranean diet offers substantial protection against cancer, heart disease, major chronic illnesses, and also diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
There is actually no one particular Mediterranean diet. Dietary habits vary from country to country, ethnicity, economy, and agricultural production.
The most common Mediterranean diet patterns include:
- high consumption of vegetables and some fruits
- high consumption of breads, potatoes, beans, nuts, and seeds
- liberal use of olive oil
- low to moderate amounts of dairy, fish, and poultry
- low amounts of red meat
- eggs, from 0-4 per week
- low to moderate wine consumption
The emphasis is fresh foods and not processed foods, which seems to be a staple anymore in Americans. Americans have become used to a high intake of MSG (a neurotoxin), high fructose corn syrup (which aggravates inflammation), and many other chemicals and preservatives that we can’t even pronounce.
Interestingly, two scientific papers were just published in respectable medical journals regarding a Mediterranean or Paleo Diet. This was a randomized control trial in police officers who have a very stressful job and who typically face sleep disturbances due to shift work. Many were overweight and not fit. Both factors caused a disruption in insulin resistance as well as leptin resistance. Many hormones, including cortisol (the stress hormone), were measured due to disruption in this stressful setting.
The Modified Mediterranean Diet (eliminate all wheat and whole grains) or the Paleo Diet, is a low glycemic diet and is provided to all Stocks Institute patients. The food quality in this study were of low quality. Several biomarkers were tracked, including insulin, leptin, ghrelin, and adiponectin. BMI and waist circumference were measured regularly.
The group that ate low-glycemic carbs in the evening (vegetables) showed much better satiety, BMI changes, weight-loss, loss of belly-fat, and and improvement in sleep disorders. Perhaps the most striking was the improvement in daytime leptin levels. Leptin tends to decrease appetite so long as the patient is not leptin-resistant. The increased daytime leptin levels meant less hunger for carbs-at-night group. The magic fix for metabolic syndrome and diabetes is still best managed with a low-carb, low glycemic diet and hormone optimization (especially testosterone). Diet and lifestyle always come out on top to correct any health problem.
Three things that we recommend you to avoid from the traditional Mediterranean diet:
- wheat and whole-grain consumption to prevent disruption of insulin levels by converting to sugars
- cut down or eliminate dairy
- not heat your olive oil whenever possible.
Chronic illness and allergies have been known to dramatically improve when wheat and dairy are eliminated. Heating the olive oil to high temperatures can result in oxidation, so when cooking, coconut oil would be a better alternative. Olive oil added at room temperature to salads and dishes is the best choice.
Try a Mediterranean diet for 4-6 weeks and see the difference in how you feel in overall health and well being. The reduced cancer risks, prevention, and reversal of diabetes, improved arthritis, decreased symptoms in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and overall life extension are benefits too good to pass up. At LongevityMed, our goal is to help you feel better and improve your overall aging process. Request a consultation below with one of our experts to find out how we can help.