Much has been written and researched about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which includes vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, legumes and whole grains as well as the use of olive oil as a healthy fat.
Research has proven that the Mediterranean diet and method of cooking will reduce the risk of heart disease. It has also been associated with a reduced risk of death from cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Your Heart and Arteries:
If you are at risk for heart disease or cancer you may need to increase the magnesium in your diet. Recent studies have shown that those who have more magnesium in their diets have less chance of dying from either cancer or cardiovascular disease. Eat more spinach, nuts, seeds, fish, beans and lentils.
As for clogged arteries – eat blueberries, especially wild blueberries as studies of this “superfood” significantly improved artery health in clinical trials. A healthy eating tip for those with Prediabetes as well.
A 14-year study has found that insulin resistance improved when people ate more full-fat dairy. A complete turn-around from advice that low-fat dairy should be part of a healthy diet. The research showed people with high levels of a particular fatty acid found only in whole-fat diary had a lower incidence of diabetes compared to people with low levels of that fatty acid.[i]
Heart Healthy Fats:
Other research into lower risk of heart disease includes the use of coconut oil. As cooking oil it is excellent for frying as it does not burn easily and, due to its high saturate fat content, can be stored for up to two years without spoiling. Because of this high fat content many health organizations advise against using a lot of coconut oil, but as it contains lauric acid which raises blood cholesterol levels by increasing HDL (healthy) cholesterol and lowering LDL it may create a more favorable blood cholesterol profile.
Grape seed oil has a high polyunsaturated fat content and is often used as an ingredient in salad dressings and mayonnaise. It is also excellent for use in baked goods, pancakes and waffles.
Studies support the claim that grape seed oil also increases HDL and reduces LDL levels, similar to coconut oil.[ii]
For those who are lactose intolerant, clarified butter (or Ghee) may be a good cooking oil substitute and it is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease. By gently simmering butter and skimming off the milk solids, then straining it, most of the lactose is removed. It can be stored longer and like coconut oil it has a higher heat tolerance so good for frying and sautéing.
Mushrooms are one of the most nutritional food items we know of and today’s research is extending their importance in our diet for disease prevention. They are being studied for the potential of decreasing tumor growth and development.
Mushrooms contain the antioxidant selenium. Selenium helps to strengthen the body’s immune system by protecting body cells from damage that might lead to chronic diseases and mushrooms are the only source of Vitamin D in grocery produce. The Institute of Medicine recognizes them as the exception to the rule that plant foods do not naturally contain vitamin D.
However, it is recommended that only organically grown mushrooms be eaten as they absorb and concentrate whatever is in the compound they grow in as well as air and water pollutants.[iii]
At one time coffee was thought to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease, however this is no longer the case. One study found that people who drank moderate amounts of coffee had a lower rate of heart failure and in some cases it was found to improve vascular function.[iv]
Another review suggested that the action of caffeine on nerves in the brain reduced feelings of depression.[v]
One recent study in Nature Neuroscience indicates up to 200 milliliters or about 6 ounces of coffee per day may help memory function.
Now Hear This:
Research into the diets of several thousand people found that those with a higher intake of magnesium, beta-carotene and vitamin C had a significantly lower risk of hearing loss. As previously mentioned magnesium is found in spinach, nuts, seeds, fish, beans and lentils. Beta-carotene is found in carrots, spinach, kale and most red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is of course found in all citrus fruits and berries, but also in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peppers and other vegetables.
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Changing your diet for the better will change your way of life. Add in regular exercise and regular check-ups with your chiropractor to become and stay as healthy as you possibly can.
[i] Full Fat Dairy May Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes and Other Health Problems. Mercola.com
[ii] Nash, DT (2004). “Cardiovascular risk beyond LDL-C levels: Other lipids are performers in cholesterol story”. Postgraduate Medicine 116 (3): 11–5.
[iii] The health benefits of Mushrooms: Mercola.com
[iv] Siasos, Gerasimos; Tousoulis, Dimitris; Stefanadis, Christodoulos (2013). “Effects of Habitual Coffee Consumption on Vascular Function”. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 63 (6): 606–607. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2013.08.1642. PMID 24184234.
[v] de Paulis, Tomas; Martin, Peter R (April 27, 2004). “Cerebral effects of noncaffeine constituents in roasted coffee”. In Nehlig, Astrid. Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, and the Brain. London: Taylor & Francis. pp. 187–196. ISBN 0-415-30691.4.
Disclaimer: Information contained in this blog post is for educational and general purposes only and is designed to assist you in making informed decisions about your health. Any information contained herein is not intended to substitute advice from your physician or other healthcare professional