Low carbohydrate mediterranean diet (LCMD) is also called as the stressed out person's diet. It is a heart-healthy diet specifically for individuals who are suffering from the following health concerns –
- Metabolic syndrome
- Clinical Type 2 Diabetes
It is called the mediterranean diet as mediterannean diet is known for promoting health and longevity. Most of its components are low carbohydrate. It promotes eating of whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish, sea foods and fruits in large quantities.
Apart from the basics of healthy eating, this diet includes components characteristic of the Mediterranean style of cooking, such as use of olive oil in food preparation and red wine as the occasional drink, all of which carry their own set of merits.
Foods to be consumed as a part of the diet
- Olive oil is an important component of the low carb Mediterranean diet. It is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, (MUFA) which helps to lower risks of coronary heart diseases. Intake of unhealthy trans-fats should be completely avoided. This includes all hydrogenated fats. Margarine, table spread, vegetable shortening should be avoided. This should be substituted for olive oil.
- Omega 3 fatty acids should be incorporated in the diet. Fishes like tuna, salmon, trout, herring and mackreal should be eaten. Walnuts and flaxseeds should be consumed regularly. They can be incorporated as a part of salad.
- Atleast seven servings of fruits and vegetables should be eaten. It is best to eat them slightly cooked, steamed or raw.
- Natural sources of good quality protein like organic meats should be added.
- The amount of vegetable protein should be increased in the diet. Nuts, legumes, peas, lentils and beans should be consumed.
- Whole grains, preferably organic should be consumed. Refined carbohydrates should be avoided completely i.e. refined flour, breads, polished rice and white sugar should be avoided.
- Moderate consumption of red wine is recommended as it helps to promote heart health.
Key points to be followed
- It is important to eat every two hours. This helps to keep the naturally maintain the blood glucose levels.
- Carbohydrates should not be eaten alone. Proteins should be added along with it. This specially applies to breakfast.
- Alcohol, caffeine and sugar should be avoided.
- Junk foods should be strictly avoided as they are anti - nutrients.
- Whole fruits and vegetables should be eaten rather than consuming juices. This adds crude fiber to the diet.
- Regular iodized salt should be replaced with sea salt. Low sodium diet is only recommended for people suffering from organ damage like kidney disorders.
- Good amount of water should be added to the diet.
Benefits of Low Carb Mediterranean Diet
- The LCMD serves the following purposes –
- Including slightly more variety in the diet by use of certain colorful vegetables like carrots, beans, bell peppers and green leafy varieties. e.g. mixed greens, rocket, lettuce and spinach with feta and orange. This helps to add antioxidants and vitamins to the diet.
- Improved blood glucose control through the use of legumes, beans instead of simple sugars that spike blood glucose, e.g. Meditteranean spiced lentil soup with parsley greens.
- Further weight loss or even weight maintenance with inclusion of small amounts of soy and soy products, e.g. Grilled tofu with roasted mediterranean vegetable salsa.
- Lean proteins such as low fat dairy, plenty of fish, low fat cheese within limits may be incorporated e.g.Oven baked salmon fillets or low fat cottage cheese scrambled and stuffed in roasted bell peppers.
- Making complex carbohydrates from whole grain cereals, pulses as well as vegetables and fruits (~ 8-10 servings) part of the diet have numerous benefits-
- Providing fibre to improve bowel clearance
- Controlling LDL cholesterol levels
- Lowering the risk of cardiovascular concerns including coronary artery disease and stroke
- Providing anti-oxidant nutrients that reduce cancer risk.