Here's what happened!
Hardly a week goes by without the Mediterranean Diet (MD) making health news. It has been ranked the top diet by US World Report for four years in a row with benefits ranging from heart health to longevity! It’s well known for including a variety of plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, olive oil, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds at every meal; it’s also known to embrace wine and seafood with limited red meat, dairy and sweets. Followers of this diet enjoy health benefits such as lowered risk of heart disease, less need for multiple medications, relief from reflux, improved cholesterol and blood pressure levels to name a few! More importantly, it tastes great and is easy to follow.
So can the MD get any better? A study published in Heart, (a cardiovascular research journal), set out to find what could happen if the beloved diet went green—meaning upping the ante on plants- specifically green plants, including plant proteins, and eliminating red meat all together.
In this random clinical trial, participants with obesity were assigned to eat a healthy diet, Mediterranean Diet or a green Mediterranean Diet. The green MD specifically included several cups of green tea daily, one serving of walnuts, as well as a plant protein shake from Mankai duckweed. The goal: to examine how increased green plant-based foods and lower meat would affect cardiometabolic risk.
Researchers found that both MD and green MD had similar weight loss when compared to the healthy diet group (of 5-6kg over six months). But those on the green MD lost more inches at their waist! Green MD group also had lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure numbers at the end of the study.