We should take a closer look at our foods ratios, and not just the proportions.
Diet is more than just what we eat because is it also how we feel about what we are eating. There seems to be a new fad diet every other day, and not surprisingly we are all still looking for the best diet to follow. I don’t think there is one perfect diet for each one of us, nor do I think that we can only follow one diet. What I do know is that the Standard American Diet (SAD) is not the diet that we want to follow. The SAD diet is about 50% carbohydrates, 15% protein and 35% fat. Most of the fat eaten by Americans is high in saturated fats, and is also low in the omega 3s.
A new study looked at the Mediterranean diet for its potential to decrease inflammation, increase longevity, and make a healthier life. What the researchers were looking at is the effect of the diet on the telomeres. These DNA caps are a buffer to protect the chromosome during division. However, over time telomeres will shorten, and thus cause aging. The researchers chose the Mediterranean diet because of the high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods eaten on a daily basis while following it. 4,676 participates were evaluated via looking at the length of their telomeres, and what the researchers found was a direct relationship with a strict Mediterranean diet, and telomere length. They did not see lengthening of the telomeres, no, but rather there was prevention in telomere shortening. This is just another positive for the Mediterranean diet along with its beneficial cardiovascular effects, and that it also decreases risk of chronic disease such as cancer, and Alzheimer's.
So what does the Mediterranean diet consist of:
- Fruits and Vegetables: 6-12 servings per day
- Grain Products: 4-6 servings per day
- Milk and Alternatives: 1-3 servings of low fat dairy products per day
- Meat and Alternatives: 1-2 servings of poultry, fish, and shellfish per day
- Other: recommends one glass of red wine daily
I would encourage you to look at how many servings of the above you are getting on a daily basis, and then see where you can make improvements. Maybe starting with one day a week that follows the Mediterranean diet, and then slowly switching over more. Also as you are eating, take time to be aware of what you are doing. Don’t eat in front of the TV, or in a loud noisy room as you will not be able to focus on what you are eating, or, more importantly, know how much you are eating.