If you've been cooking with vegetable oil or coconut oil, make the switch to extra-virgin olive oil. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which may improve HDL cholesterol, the "good" type of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol ferries "bad" LDL particles out of arteries, according to a 2017 study in Circulation. Use olive oil in homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Drizzle it on finished dishes like fish or chicken to boost flavor. Swap butter for olive oil in mashed potatoes, pasta, and more.
One thing you’ll find people love about the Mediterranean diet is the allowance of moderate amounts of red wine. “Moderate” means 5 ounces (oz) or less each day for women (one glass) and no more than 10 oz daily for men (two glasses). (1) Above all else, these meals are eaten in the company of friends and family; strong social ties are a cornerstone of healthful lives — and a healthful diet. Here, food is celebrated.
The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a low-carbohydrate, fat-rich eating plan that has been used for centuries to treat specific medical conditions. In the 19th century, the ketogenic diet was commonly used to help control diabetes. In 1920 it was introduced as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children in whom medication was ineffective. The ketogenic diet has also been tested and used in closely monitored settings for cancer, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Being constantly stressed keeps your sugar-boosting hormone cortisol jacked up, which not only elevates your blood sugar but also short-circuits fat loss. And let's be honest: When you're stressed out, you're more likely to nose-dive into keto-unfriendly foods, like comfort carbs. Find ways to dial down stress levels. I find even five minutes of shutting my eyes and taking deep, diaphragmatic breaths can give me a renewed focus and take stress down a few notches.
A 2013 study conducted by the German Research Center for Food Chemistry indicates that even just smelling EVOO may lead to greater feelings of fullness: when the scent was added to foods via an aromatic extract, it lowered the number of calories consumed by study participants, and improved blood sugar response. Additionally, compared to other oils and fats, when EVOO was added to yogurt, the group that had eaten the yogurt enriched with olive oil showed the largest increases in blood levels of serotonin, a hormone associated with satiety.
"Growing up, I was always sick to my stomach and doctors couldn’t see anything wrong. After going keto, all those symptoms went away, until I have a cheat meal. For the first year, I didn’t have any cheats. Now, 95 percent of the time it’s keto, but if we go on vacation or have an anniversary, I’ll have a cheat meal. I usually don’t feel good after cheating and I remember why I don't like to do it."
Spinach is a great source of iron, which is a key component in red blood cells that fuel our muscles with oxygen for energy. But researchers in Sweden identified another way in which these greens might keep you charged: Compounds found in spinach actually increase the efficiency of our mitochondria, the energy-producing factories inside our cells. That means eating a cup of cooked spinach a day may give you more lasting power on the elliptical machine (or in your daily sprint to catch the bus).
Olive oil joins foods containing omega-3 fats, like salmon and walnuts, for example, as an elite category of healthy fatty acids. Olive oil has a ton of research backing its health benefits — in fact, it’s so backed by research that the FDA even permits labels on olive oil bottles containing a specific health claim (to date this is only allowed on olive oil, omega-3 fats and walnuts). That claim?
Elena Paravantes, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Writer and consultant specializing in the Mediterranean Diet and Cuisine. She has been active as a clinician, consultant and lecturer for 20 years, both in the U.S. and Greece. An expert on the Greek Mediterranean Diet, her interviews and articles have been published in many publications including CNN, U.S. News and World Report, Prevention, NPR, and Shape. Elena has collaborated with a number of organizations including Loyola University, Yale University, University of Missouri, Louisiana State University, and the American College of Greece.
SOURCES: Environmental Nutrition, June 2003; May 2004; February 2005. The Journal of Pediatrics, July 1995. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, February 1997. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 1997. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004; 292. Food Chemistry, May 2004, vol 85; issue 3. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition January 2005. FDA News, Nov. 1, 2004. The Olive Oil Source web site.