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* NUTRITION


develop type 2 diabetes). Participants in this study lowered their risk for diabetes without any signifi cant changes in body weight or increases in physical activity. Another study in 2014, by researchers in Italy, found that people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were better able to lower their A1C levels and delay the need for diabetes medications when adhering to a Mediterra- nean diet, compared to a low-fat diet.


An increasing body of evidence also suggests that a Mediterranean diet can improve cardiovascular risk fac- tors, lower mortality and reduce peripheral artery disease in people with diabetes.


WHAT IS THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET? The term Mediterranean diet was fi rst used in the 1960s by researcher Ancel Keys when describing the eating habits of people living near the Mediterranean Sea. Keys noticed that people living in this region — who had a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, bread, cereals, olive oil, low-to- moderate amounts of fi sh, poultry and alcohol, with little red meat — experienced fewer chronic illnesses and lived longer than people living in other regions of the world. Today, health experts, including those at the Mayo Clinic, advise people interested in a Mediterranean diet for health purposes to incorporate the foods that follow into their meal plan. Plenty of plants: The bulk of all meals should come from


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a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Eat a rainbow. Aim for seven to ten servings a day of plant-based foods. Branch out from the basics and try some fi gs, dates or pomegranates, avocado and eggplant. Whole grains: Whether you’re eating bread, cereal, rice, tortillas or pasta, make sure you’re choosing whole grains. Try brown-rice pasta or quinoa for a different fl avor.


Nuts and legumes: If you need a snack, munch on almonds, cashews, pistachios or walnuts. Avoid peanut butters with hydrogenated fats, opting for the natural va- rieties instead. Want to try another type of spread? Go for tahini, made of sesame seeds. Kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils are good sides. Spices: Season meals with herbs and spices instead of using salt. Toss in garlic, chili powder, saffron, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or mint. You’ll add fl avor as well as health benefi ts and may actually enjoy the change. Skip the butter: Substitute olive oil or canola oil for butter or margarine. Try dipping whole-grain breads in fl avored olive oils instead of spreading butter on top. Eat more fi sh: Eat fi sh at least once or twice a week. Try fresh or water-packed tuna, trout, mackerel or herring. Salmon, sardines and halibut are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Grill or bake — don’t fry the fi sh — for the healthi- est results.


Eat less red meat: You don’t have to eliminate red meat, takechargemag.com


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