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).
Complex high fat foods such as extra virgin olive oil, when eaten with a wide variety of other healthy polyphenol-dense foods, provide the basis for a rich and diverse community of gut microbes. This diversity is increasingly being shown to be important for our health. The original PREDIMED study didn’t measure gut microbes directly (although subsequent research is doing so) but the striking benefits of the Mediterranean diet and particularly extra virgin olive oil are that they are superb gut microbe fertilisers and improve gut health.
There are four different kinds of MCTs, which differ depending on the number of carbons there are connected to the fat molecules (this ranges between 6 to 12 carbons long). The MCTs in coconut oil are made up of about 50 percent of one kind (lauric acid) but typically contain the other three in varying amounts. MCT oil, on the other hand, is produced using fatty acids extracted from coconut and palm oil and is usually comprised of capric acid, caprylic acid or a blend of both.
There isn't "a" Mediterranean diet. Greeks eat differently from Italians, who eat differently from the French and Spanish. But they share many of the same principles. Working with the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways, a nonprofit food think tank in Boston, developed a consumer-friendly Mediterranean diet pyramid that offers guidelines on how to fill your plate – and maybe wineglass – the Mediterranean way.
A perfect plate reflecting the Mediterranean diet is nutritionally balanced, diverse, and full of color, flavor, and texture. It’s crisp, leafy greens; deep purple grapes; ruby-red salmon; vibrant rainbow carrots; and nutty, crunchy farro. It’s Greek yogurt topped with figs, dates, and a drizzle of honey. Is your mouth watering? That’s exactly the point—the Mediterranean diet should never feel restrictive. Instead, it’s an enlightened way of eating defined by plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, healthy grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
If lunch was a nutritional bust, then dinner is your chance for redemption. Focus on creating a balanced plate, and challenge yourself to go meatless at least once a week. Find small ways to boost the nutrition of your meal, whether it’s piling fresh arugula over homemade pizza, tossing leftover grilled veggies into pasta, or sprinkling chopped nuts or seeds over a salad.
The fatty acids termed MCTs and lauric acid act somewhat differently in the body, although in the U.S., coconut oil and MCT oil manufacturers are legally allowed to claim that lauric acid is a type of MCT. Some people claim that lauric acid doesn’t biologically act like other forms of shorter MCTs (or at least as quickly), which is one reason why MCT advocates believe that MCT oil is somewhat superior.
Benefits The main ingredient in hummus, chickpeas pack an impressive amount of fiber (more than half of a woman’s 25 g daily quota), as well as iron, zinc, folate, and magnesium, according to a paper published in November 2014 in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. (15,16) The stats above are for a whole cup, but you only need ½ cup per day to reap the benefits.
And so much more. Click Here to open a chart comparing the nutrients in the same number of calories from green leafy lettuce and olive oil. Keep in mind, too, what mountains of research over the past several decades have told us. Consistently, the foods linked with healthier, longer, disease-free lives are foods rich in all kinds of nutrients – vitamins, minerals, fiber, polyphenols, beta carotene, and so on. Yes, foods like leafy greens. Olive oil, by comparison, tallies up a whole lot of zeros.
Cunnane, S. C., Courchesne-Loyer, A., St-Pierre, V., Vandenberghe, C., Pierotti, T., Fortier, M., … & Castellano, C.-A. (2016, March). Can ketones compensate for deteriorating brain glucose uptake during aging? Implications for the risk and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1367, 12–20. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nyas.12999/full
Unsaturated fatty acids, whether monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, can lower your levels of "bad" cholesterol (which decreases your risk of heart disease) if you eat them instead of saturated fatty acids, Hughes says. Saturated fat -- found mostly in animal products and in palm and coconut oils -- is the main dietary cause of high blood cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association.