Swap-out Food Restrictions for Foods You Should Eat!
Most of us know about all the “bad” foods we should not be eating on a regular basis. Those so-called bad foods likely set you up for a higher risk of developing obesity, cancers, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions. You may be turned off by all the foods you can’t eat…..What if you focus more on the variety of foods you can and should eat rather than the long list of foods you should not be eating daily?
The standard list of treat foods includes: refined and processed grains, fried foods, fatty foods, sugary drinks, desserts, and candy. Soups often contain heavy doses of salt, while condiments like ketchup can be full of sugar. You often start to feel like every food is a no. Hearing a negative all the time can depress you, make you feel deprived, and interfere with your efforts to create a healthy diet plan.
If you are focused on limiting heart disease, the Mediterranean Diet can help. It offers a wide range of food choices from all of the six food groups, and most of these foods are easy to find, tasty and filling. If you follow a Mediterranean style eating plan it should include most fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, moderate alcohol, limited amounts of meat and healthy oils and nuts. This approach to eating offers variety and it has also been associated with lower rates of heart disease.
A recent study published in the European Heart Journal linked consumption of a Mediterranean diet to lower risks of heart attacks and strokes in people with heart disease. The study reviewed data on 15,000 people in 39 countries around the world. What was very interesting is that the study showed that emphasizing daily consumption of healthy foods had more impact on heart health than simply avoiding a westernized diet. That means that “what you eat is more important than what you don’t eat.”
Since dieters typically struggle with deprivation, which often causes weight cycling instead of sustained weight loss, it might be better to identify “what you should be eating,” and then over time, simply try to achieve portion control to maintain a certain daily calorie intake. Keeping hunger under control and eating a diet rich in nutrients may be key to heart health. It might also help you to finally achieve some dietary balance and sustained weight loss.
Experts in nutrition usually refrain from tagging foods as “good” or “bad,” however it is important to recognize that the current western diet is filled with high density (high calorie) foods that are low in nutrients and high in salt, sugar, fats, while the Mediterranean diet is filled with quality foods that taste good and offer a bounty of nutrients.