New Meat Minimalist Mediterranean Diet is Even Healthier

New Research shows that Mediterranean food is good for you

Healthy Mediterranean food.

(Tatjana Baibakova / Shutterstock.com)

What could be healthier for you than the Mediterranean diet that is chock full of olive oil, fish, nuts, whole grains, yogurt, and healthy vegetables? The answer might surprise you. It’s the new “green Mediterranean” diet that minimizes meat.

A study from Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Israel that was published in the journal Heart, set out to find out if the new ultra-green version of diet that has been known to have many heart health benefits. The researchers, according to a press release from the university wanted to find out if the more plant-based and lower red meat intake was even better for lowering bad cholesterol and overall health.

The 294 middle-aged study participants had a BMI of 31 and sedimentary lifestyles. They were divided randomly into three dietary groups.

The first group only received information about eating a healthier diet and exercising more. The second group received the same exercise guidance and were advised to follow the traditional Mediterranean diet including 28 grams of walnuts daily. The third group also received the same exercise information and the new green Med version.

This diet includes the same healthy greens, walnuts but avoids all red and processed meats. The third group also drank a protein shake of green tea and 100 frozen cubes of Wolffia globosa duckweed (that is similar to watercress) made by Mankai as an animal protein substitute. The findings, after six months,  showed that this diet lowered the risk of serious heart disease 2-fold.

The researchers said in the press release: Our findings suggest that additional restriction of meat intake with a parallel boost in plant-based, protein- high- polyphenols rich foods such as walnuts, green tea and Mankai, may further benefit the cardiometabolic state and reduce cardiovascular risk, beyond the known beneficial effects of the traditional Mediterranean diet.”

The participants who followed the green Med diet also saw health benefits that included decreases in LDL cholesterol, a decrease in diastolic blood pressure, diabetic insulin resistance, as well as an increased ratio of good HDL cholesterol and LDL according to Healthline.

While the traditional Mediterranean diet does all of these things, the green Med takes it many steps further by altering the protein content. “The green Med diet appears to remove red meat completely and encourage the other animal protein sources as well as the plant-based proteins at the foundation of the diet (nuts, seeds, legumes) to take its place,” Andy De Santis, , a registered dietitian with a master’s in public health nutrition told Healthline

“Diversifying your protein intake is one of the most impactful things a person can do to improve their health,” he said. “The primary sources of plant protein, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy-based foods, offer unique benefits that are simply not found in animal foods.”

So, enjoy the tasty treats the Mediterranean region offers like hummus, falafel, olives, fresh veggies, fish, seed, and nuts and reap the many health benefits that come along with eating well and exercising.

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