New research suggests that a green Mediterranean diet may be even better for cardiovascular health and weight loss, than the traditional Mediterranean diet
New research suggests that a green Mediterranean diet, which contains more plant-based foods such as vegetables and walnuts and less meat, may be even better for cardiovascular health and weight loss, than the traditional version of the Mediterranean diet.
The research was published in the online journal Heart and conducted by Dr. Gal Tsaban and Prof. Iris Shai of Ben-Gurion University. Nearly 300 participants with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 were randomly assigned into three dietary groups.
The first group received guidance on healthy physical activity and a healthy diet. The second received the same physical activity guidance plus advice on following a traditional Mediterranean diet, low in simple carbohydrates, rich in vegetables, with poultry and fish replacing red meat and including 28 g/day of walnuts.
The third group received the physical activity guidance plus advice on following a green version of the Mediterranean diet (‘green Med’). This included 28 g/day walnuts, avoidance of red/processed meat, higher quantities of plant matter, 3-4 cups/day of green tea and 100 g frozen cubes of Wolffia globosa (cultivated Mankai strain) – a form of the aquatic plant duckweed, taken as a green plant-based protein shake as a partial substitute for animal protein.
After six months, the effect of each of the diets on weight loss and cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors was assessed. Those following the green Med diet lost the most weight (6.2 kg), followed by the Mediterranean diet (5.4 kg) and healthy diet (1.5 kg). Those following the green Med diet also saw their waist circumference fall by more and achieved a greater reduction in ‘bad’ low-density cholesterol, diastolic blood pressure and insulin resistance. More information can be found in the press release here.