Hello friends! Welcome to week 3 of our month long series where we explore current trends in the health industry. This week I decided to focus on some of the most popular diets for 2016. I chose the number one diets that I thought you all would be most interested in. According to usnews.com, some of these plans are familiar favorites on their ‘Best diet rankings’ list, one specifically having been rated number one for the 6th year in a row! The MIND diet (and several others), is brand new to this list and has already nabbed a spot in the top three for ‘Best diets overall’!
These diets get their rankings based on a few different requirements including sustainability, ease of use, safety and so on. Many diets are now moving away from the traditional goals of losing weight and perfecting your outer appearance, to adopting a more emotionally and mentally healthy lifestyle. Feeling good about yourself internally, and elongating your life medicinally in conjunction with a positive self image is the wave of the future!
Easiest to follow – MIND diet
The MIND diet (which combines two diets, and stands for Mediterranean-DASH intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) focuses on 10 distinct types of food that have been proven to preserve cognitive abilities and promote brain health. Some of these foods include leafy greens, nuts, berries, beans, fish, olive (or avocado) oil and even wine! This diet was specifically built with the purpose of preventing Alzheimer’s, and has been proven to work quite effectively. A recent study shows that if you follow this diet as much as possible, it can cut your risk of developing this disease by a whopping 53%! Basically the longer you follow it, the better off you will be in the long run.
Even though this diet encourages eating these certain types of food, it doesn’t really restrict the other things you eat either, within moderation. The fact that you aren’t focusing on weighing yourself every day, counting calories or starving yourself makes this even more desirable. It’s all about the brain!
There are a few guidelines to follow though. Watch your portion sizes. Even though you aren’t starving yourself, you can’t go crazy either. Try to steer clear of eating red meat as much as you can, limiting your intake to less than 4 servings a week. Ideally you would also stay away from sweets, dairy (including butter), fried and fast foods.
Cutting down on your consumption of these foods, and focusing more on a balanced intake of lean protein, antioxidants and fiber rich fare can reduce inflammation in your body and lower the chances of dementia! It has been noted that inflammation can potentially speed up the progress of Alzheimer’s. Seeing as 2/3 of Alzheimer’s patients are female, I would highly recommend this to my fellow ladies.
Best plant based – Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is similar to the MIND diet in many ways, with various subtle but important differences in portions and ingredients. Focusing significantly more on veggies, nuts, legumes, grains and so on, this diet has been shown to aid in cardiovascular health, and can reduce your risk of getting Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It has also been shown to prolong your life and help combat diabetes and cancer. Additionally, this is a great option for vegans and vegetarians since it’s foundation is primarily plant based.
This plan is a tad bit pricier than the others though, as it has you eating multiple servings of it’s main staples throughout the day. It also requires a lot of maintenance and preparation, which is a factor that’s good to know for a lot of busy people. Being centered around traditional Mediterranean elements, this plan contributes to many of our daily necessary nutrients.
For example, Feta is lower in fat than many other cheeses. Cucumbers are low in calories and high in Vitamins K and C. Red peppers are also high in Vitamin C, as well as caretenoids, the antioxidant I spoke of in my Functional Foods entry. Peas and artichokes are high in fiber. Finally, portobello mushrooms are also high in fiber and protein, as well as being low in sodium and saturated fat. I think this gives you a good grasp on the basics, and a great place to start if you enjoy these types of foods like I do!
For fast weight loss – Biggest Loser diet
By now after 17 seasons of this show being on the air, we have all heard about the success stories that the Biggest Loser diet has produced. This is clearly a plan that works, but does require a lot of commitment and preparation! You’ll be expected to exercise A LOT, and keep tabs on the nutritional values of anything you consume. As they say, nothing worth doing is ever easy!
Like the Mediterranean diet, you will also be eating numerous small, but periodic meals throughout the day. This particular plan focuses on a ‘pyramid’ structure that is based on a gradual 1-2-3-4 rule. This consists of 200 calories of ‘extra’ foods (of your choosing), 2 servings of whole grains, 3 of lean protein and 4 of leafy greens/veggies and fruits. Pretty simple. One of the great things about this plan is that even though there are a few base guidelines to follow, no foods are off limits otherwise. You should also be drinking lots of water each day and avoiding caffeine!
By following this structure, you will keep your hunger at bay and your blood sugar at a healthy level. As well, most of these foods have a high fiber content and minimal calories that will keep you full for a longer period of time. It has been noted that by following this plan, you can potentially combat the risks and symptoms of certain diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
As always, thanks for joining me! Come back next week for my 4th and final entry in this series! Don’t forget to stay positive and LOVE YOUR LIFE!
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Written by: Heather