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I stepped into a bookstore this past weekend for the first time in many months. It’s crazy because this time of year there are literally hundreds of books on diets.
But I was surprised to see that many of them are not about weight.
There are low calorie diets for weight loss. Low sodium diets for people with blood pressure issues. Gluten free diets for people with celiac disease or other sensitivities.
There’s also a diet for preserving brain function. It’s not new. In fact I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but not because of what it can do for your brain health.
Did you know the Mediterranean diet can make your brain act years younger?
It helps regulate your weight, improve cardiovascular health and lessen your risk of cancer, all true. Yet the Mediterranean diet does even more for you. It also lowers your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative brain conditions.
A new study published in the prestigious journal Neurology finds that people who eat a Mediterranean diet have larger brains and reduce their brain’s age by five years.
Inspired by the dietary patterns of people who live in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea (Greece, Italy, Turkey and Spain) where people live longer and suffer less from cancer and cardiovascular diseases than Americans, the gist of the diet is to consume mainly fish, olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables. Moderate amounts of wine and dairy products including cheese and yogurt are also allowed. You need to avoid red meat, sugary snacks, processed foods and soft drinks.
Pick seafood high in omega-3 fatty acids for this diet. Salmon is a top choice. A 200-calorie serving contains about 2,843mgs of omega-3 fatty acids. Halibut, oysters, fresh tuna, snapper, rainbow trout, crayfish, oysters and calamari are all also good picks. Canned tuna and canned sardines are not the best options, but can be considered when convenience is necessary.
If you want to give this diet a try, I’ve included a sample menu below.
1 cup of Greek yogurt topped with a drop or two of honey
½ cup of blueberries
2 tablespoons of hummus plus unlimited fresh greens and tomatoes on whole-grain pita bread
¼ cup of almonds 1 medium sized orange
Small bunch grapes
¼ cup peanuts
6 ounces of grilled salmon
½ cup of roasted red skin potatoes topped with olive oil and rosemary
Sliced tomato topped with 1 ounce of mozzarella cheese and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and balsamic dressing