You may find yourself intrigued by the fact that the Mediterranean diet can offer various health benefits, such as better heart health, weight loss, and a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. You might also be interested to learn that a new study has found that you can make this diet even more effective when it comes to reducing visceral fat by making a few minor changes, which will turn it into what's known as the green Mediterranean diet.
The study, which was published in BMC Medicine, included 294 participants that took part in a trial that lasted for 18 months. Those involved were asked to eat a specific diet—one of which was the green Mediterranean diet. The main difference between a typical Mediterranean diet and a green Mediterranean diet is that the green version focuses more on polyphenols with green plant-based proteins and also incorporates less red or processed meat.
Read on to learn more about the results of this new study, and for more healthy eating tips, make sure to read about how Eating Omega-3s Can Improve Cognitive Function.
The parameters for the green Mediterranean diet in this specific study included consuming 28 grams of walnuts each day along with three to four cups of green tea and 100 grams of a duckweed shake. This offers protein, iron, and B12, as well as other vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols.
The results of using the green Mediterranean diet were compared to those of the typical Mediterranean diet, as well as a diet that was considered to be healthy due to the fact that it followed recommended guidelines. The outcome showed that a healthy diet could reduce visceral fat by 4.2%, while the Mediterranean diet reduced it by 6%. At the same time, the green Mediterranean diet reduced visceral fat by 14.1%.
"A 14% reduction in visceral fat is a dramatic achievement for making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle," said doctoral student Dr. Hila Zelicha, who was involved with the study, according to EurekAlert! Beyond that, Zelicha explained, "Weight loss is an important goal, only if it is accompanied by impressive results in reducing adipose tissue."
"This study supports the benefit of a diet with more plants, which provide increased fiber and other plant nutrients, along with less red meat," Kim Kulp, RD of The Gut Health Connection, tells Eat This, Not That! "However, this is only one study, and we'll need more research to see if these benefits continue to outweigh a more traditional Mediterranean diet."
Kulp also explains the key differences between the green Mediterranean diet and the typical Mediterranean diet, saying that the latter "includes mostly plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes." Beyond that, "fish is emphasized, with a moderate amount of poultry, cheese, and yogurt." Finally, "little to no red meat is included, and olive oil is the main source of added fats."
On the other hand, Kulp says that "The green Mediterranean diet takes this one step further," and while "both diets are high in fiber and phytonutrients (plant nutrients)," Kulp notes that "The Green Mediterranean diet is especially high in polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant that has been shown to protect against heart disease, cancers, and inflammation."
At the same time, Kulp is sure to add, "There may be some medications that could be affected by increasing and decreasing certain dietary components. It's always important to talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian before making any major diet changes."