A brand-new study, hot off the presses in the prestigious medical journal Heart, revealed the extraordinary additional health benefits of adding even more plant protein to the Mediterranean diet. Three hundred overweight individuals at risk for heart disease were randomly divided into 3 groups: healthy diet, traditional Mediterranean diet and a “greener” Mediterranean diet—all with the same calories and exercise. Scientists found that after 6 months, the participants who followed the modified “greener” version of the Mediterranean diet showed even greater weight loss and a greater improvement in cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors—compared to those following the other diets.
The traditional Mediterranean diet includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats like nuts and olive oil —and also includes fish and a reduced amount of meat and poultry consumption.
Here is what the GREEN MEDITERRANEAN diet participants did differently:
Green tea: they drank three to four cups of green tea a day. Harness the power of plant protection against disease by drinking a few cups of tea daily. No doubt about it, a few daily cups of any kind of tea from the official “Tea Plant” is bound to do a body good and help protect against a host of cancers; provide cardiovascular protection via antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms and even offer therapeutic benefits for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Plant protein: they substituted plant protein for much of the animal protein consumed by the other two groups. Some healthy plant proteins you might consider: beans, lentils, quinoa, tofu and green peas.
The takeaway message is, if your goal is optimal health, that a greener, more plant-based Mediterranean diet is best. Translation: replace fish, poultry or meat with plant protein on most days of the week. Try sipping on green tea throughout the day as well.