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07 Nov

Plant based diets: 

The Independent reports on growing evidence that a plant-based diet is the healthiest for us. So what should we be eating?

Plant based diets

US News and World Report, covered in Business Insider UK, tell us that, not only are they good for your body, plant-based diets are "good for the environment, your heart, your weight, and your overall health."

So it looks like we’re back once again to our friend, the Mediterranean diet. Another version of this called the MIND diet also emerges favourably from research. It includes more foods thought to especially prevent declining brainpower as we age.

The Mediterranean diet contains:

·         Vegetables

·         Fruits

·         Whole grains – avoid processed grains. Bear in mind this includes flour and everything that’s made with it

·         Lean proteins such as beans, nuts and fish

·         Olive oil.

It has minimal, or no:

·         Red meat and poultry

·         Processed foods

·         Dairy foods – butter, margarine, cheese.

The MIND version of the diet includes poultry and wine, and especially emphasises green, leafy vegetables, nuts and berries. Neither diet includes sweets or pastries. We trust that does not surprise.

Feed your mind

Brain tests on almost 6,000 older people participating in a study reported this April produced better results the closer people’s diets were to the Mediterranean and MIND type diets.

The benefits to our brains of this type of diet seem likely, say researchers, but are not yet proven. It’s felt that it could be down to the mono-unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in the diet.

How healthy are these things? As we’ve reported in our earlier blogs:

·         mono-unsaturated fats maintain ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol and reduce the ‘bad’ (LDL) type. They are found in olive oil, avocadoes and some nuts

·         omega-3 fatty acids are said to reduce heart disease and can be found in salmon, nuts and seeds. Not to be confused with omega-6 which is felt to be less beneficial altogether and is found, amongst other places, in meat from animals fed on grain rather than grass.

Antioxidants are thought to protect cells from damage by free radicals, which can lead to serious disease. They’re mainly found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and so on.

The study concluded that further research was needed. “Evidence is suggestive of a neuroprotective role for the MedDiet, but variation between studies makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions.”

Benefit your body

The Independent spells out key nutritional advice from dietician Cara Anselmo reported in Business Insider. The food you eat has to do a lot more than just stop you being hungry. It has to sustain you, ie stop you feeling hungry again soon after, and it has to adequately fuel:

·         your muscles – this means protein

·         your digestive system – this means fibre

·         your tissues and bones – this means vitamins and minerals from food.

The Mediterranean and MIND diets provide all the above, whilst cutting out the things that don’t help us feel good in ourselves and about ourselves.

Lose your weight your way

At Practically Slim we know healthy eating makes sense. We also know there’s more than one way to skin a blueberry. We’ve got a range of diets and support to get you started. Contact us today to lose your weight your way.

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