Many endurance athletes, myself included, find ourselves stuck in ruts when it comes to recipes and meals. We tend to have our staples that provide the nutrients we need to sustain our training, but those staples can get boring and overdone. The challenge to seek out new recipes is good, but searching a foreign region’s menu, was an extra, albeit fun, challenge.
With the mission of choosing a recipe from a specific country in the Mediterranean, a small geography lesson was first required. I think many of us don’t realize that the Mediterranean is more than a portion of Italy and the country of Greece. There are 21 countries that comprise the region. They all share similar ingredients in their recipes, yet they all deliver a unique flair to the table. I got the joy of researching the recipes of Egypt.
The first step was just familiarizing myself with the cuisine of the country. True to Mediterranean food, there were many minced meats, shish kabobs with sides of tahini and pita. Some less common foods included grilled pigeon, fried perch and tuna, and stewed beans for breakfast. While runners need protein, pigeon was not a source I was opting for this time. Read Full Post >
This week, the Mediterranean Diet was put in the spotlight after a highly regarded five-year study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, foundit offers exceptional benefits for heart health. Even the researchers admitted to changing their own diets based on their findings, and people the country and world over are taking a second look at a style of eating that has been lauded as one of the healthiest around. There’s little you can’t attribute to the Mediterranean Diet – of course there is weight loss, but it also improves fertility, reduces risk of Alzheimer’s, manages diabetes, lowers cholesterol, and more. It even adds years to your life; those in the Mediterranean, specifically Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy, live in what are known as Blue Zones, places in the world where the population outlives anyone else.
What is everyone eating who follows this healthful diet? It’s certainly not rabbit food, and it’s not even what most people consider diet food. It’s some of the freshest, most flavorful food in the world. The Mediterranean Diet is largely made up of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, while fish and seafood are also large contributors to the meal plans, followed by less dairy and poultry, and very limited meat and sweets/processed foods. Healthy fats like olive oil are used in place of butter and fresh herbs and spices are used instead of salt.
Take a culinary sneak peek at what a day on the Mediterranean Diet might look like, and consider adopting this style of eating for yourself. (Did we mention there’s wine?) Read Full Post >
The Mediterranean Diet has long been lauded for its vast health benefits, often being deemed the healthiest of all diet styles. Heart health now joins fertility, Alzheimer’s, longevity, lower cholesterol, and even diabetes as some of the many ways this diet improves health, per a study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study found that there is a 30 percent decrease in the development of cardiac disease, including heart attack and stroke, when a Mediterranean Diet is followed. The New York Times reported it was “the first major clinical trial to measure the diet’s effect on heart risks. The magnitude of the diet’s benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue.” Read Full Post >
Alzheimer’s: The word conjures up scary thoughts of slowly losing your memory as you become a shell of your former self. Experts project that diagnoses of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the primary cause, will triple worldwide by 2050. But scientists tell us that preventative measures can go a long way in protecting the brain from memory loss diseases, and they are as simple as doing things like making changes in your diet.
Here are 10 super foods that work to boost brain power and, in turn, lessen your chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. No one food has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but healthy eating habits appear to be one of the top factors in lowering your risk for developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.
1. Wild Salmon, Tuna, Sardines (Omega-3 Fatty Acids) The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week because it contains vital omega-3 fatty acids. These good fats help the body function properly and may slow cognitive decline by 10 percent, studies show.
“The main concept is that a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids creates BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), a protein between nerve cells that helps increase the strength between connections,” said Michael Gonzalez-Wallace, author of “Super Body Super Brain.” Trout, mackerel, and herring are also good choices, and taking a fish oil vitamin can also help your body obtain this much-needed nutrient. Read Full Post >
Artichokes: Where do I begin? As a child I was absolutely terrified by them and as an adult I’m still a little bit unsure of their distinct texture, taste and shape. When I order a salad at a restaurant and it comes with artichokes, I usually manage to eat about half before throwing in the towel. However, I think the problem here is two-fold: 1) I didn’t realize how good they were for you, and 2) I’ve never actually cooked them myself. However, all of that’s about to change.
Health benefits: It’s no surprise that artichokes are a staple in the Mediterranean diet as they’re loaded with vitamins C and K, folate, magnesium, potassium and manganese.
Like many other fruits and veggies, artichokes are also high in fiber – nearly 10 grams in one medium choke. Each serving also contains approximately 3-4 grams of protein and less than one gram of fat for a satisfying, healthful indulgence. One of the tricks to getting the most nutrients out of your artichoke is eating the whole vegetable. If you opt only for the hearts, you will inevitably miss out on some of the vitamins and minerals. However, with that being said, the hearts are still worth devouring as they’re no doubt a healthy, low-calorie food.
Nutritional statistics: 1 cup contains approximately 76 calories, 1 g fat, 15 g carbohydrates, 8 g of dietary fiber, 1 g sugar and 5 g protein. Read Full Post >