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Mediterranean diet: 4 easy food swaps for healthy eating

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“And it’s not an all-or-nothing set of rules,” said Dudash. “It doesn’t have to be all day, it doesn’t have to be every week.”

It’s not even a diet in the sense of weight loss. It’s a lifestyle for the people in the countries around the Mediterranean.

In addition to incorporating regional foods and ingredients, nutrition takes a broader, lifestyle-oriented approach that also emphasizes the mindful enjoyment of meals with family and friends, as well as getting up and moving around during the day. Running and talking with a buddy instead of running on a treadmill nowhere? This is the Mediterranean way.

Most of the Mediterranean diet is centered on plant-based ingredients, including fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and grains, with seafood being the main source of animal protein.

“Meat and dairy products can be part of the Mediterranean diet, but they are heavily plant-based,” said Dudash, who first experienced this type of food cooking with her Lebanese grandmother and great-grandmother as a child.

As an adult, she travels the Mediterranean, to countries such as Italy, France, Croatia and Monaco, expanding her palate and consolidating her love for the Mediterranean lifestyle.

The whole and less processed ingredients recommended in the Mediterranean diet are of course suitable for a low-carbohydrate diet. By consuming these in larger amounts than starchy foods like white bread and rice, red meat, and foods with added sugar, you can change your eating habits.

When trying to cut down on your carbohydrate intake, include more plants, fiber, and good fat in your diet. Or just eat less processed foods, making your life more Mediterranean is easier than you might think.

Here are Dudash’s top recommendations for ingredient sharing and everyday cooking habits to incorporate into your routine with common ingredients from the pantry, along with recipes from Dudash’s new book.

Use extra virgin olive oil on everything

If there’s a move to making your meals more Mediterranean, it’s making extra virgin olive oil your favorite cooking oil. “Use it liberally! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to friends’ homes and they have a small bottle of olive oil that they only use in salads,” said Dudash.

Extra virgin olive oil is low in saturated fat – the kind that can lead to high cholesterol – and high in monounsaturated fat – the kind that can help lower cholesterol. Polyphenols give extra virgin olive oil its distinctive green-gold color and can help fight a wide variety of diseases.

Olive oil labeled “pure” or “light” does not have the same benefits as the extra-native variety. “This isn’t a healthier choice, and the name has nothing to do with calories. You get the processed leftovers,” Dudash said.

She recommends that you reach for extra virgin olive oil anywhere you would use butter or canola oil in a recipe, not just as a finishing oil or salad dressing. In Mediterranean cuisine, she states: “Olive oil is the main fat that is used in cooking and at the table, from searing seafood to drizzling over salads and cooked vegetables – even while stirring in cake batter!”

Hummus isn’t just for snacks

Hummus has a lot going for it. The hearty spread is made from high-fiber ingredients such as chickpeas and tahini. And it’s kid-friendly and goes well with other vegetables. But Dudash thinks that with hummus you have to think past snack time. “You dip your carrots in it, but are you using it to the full? Probably not.”

Anywhere you normally turn to mayo, try hummus or tahini instead. Dudash folds hummus in her tuna salad and uses tahini in Caesar dressing to give it a luscious and creamy texture. She even uses hummus as the base for a Greek-inspired seven-layer dip, which is a refreshing change from the usual bean and guac option.

COOK THE RECIPE: Greek 7-Layer Hummus DipExtra virgin olive oil can be used for sautéing as well as drizzling over salads, cooked vegetables and that hummus dip, Dudash said.

Dudash also notes that “in Middle Eastern countries, hummus is not served cold out of the refrigerator, but rather served warm.” With that in mind, she stirs hummus into sauces and one-pan sautées to add moisture and flavor, and to bring in extra protein. She especially loves adding it to browned turkey for salad wraps.

Swap nuts and seeds for bread

An easy way to include more vegetable protein and fiber in your meals is to replace breadcrumb fillings and toppings with nuts or seeds. “It’s a great way to add more vegetable protein to a crust, breading, or salad and give them more texture and depth of flavor,” said Dudash.

She mixes chopped nuts with ground turkey as a stuffed paprika filling and hides almond flour in her Mediterranean meatloaf. Instead of panko, she dips cod fillet in mashed pistachios and bakes them into a toasted crunch. Try Dudash’s recipe from “The Low-Carb Mediterranean Cookbook” for yourself.

COOK THE RECIPE: Lemon Baked Cod with Pistachio CrustIt's easy to add vegetable protein and fiber to meals by replacing breadcrumbs with nuts, like in this cod dish.

If you’re allergic to nuts or want to mix things up even further, Dudash recommends using quinoa. “Most people are used to seeing it in salads or a pilaf,” she said, but this protein-rich seed can substitute for breadcrumbs or oats in favorite meatball, burger, and more recipes.

You can use leftover cooked quinoa or dry quinoa as a binder. Soak dry quinoa for about 15 minutes, then drain well before mixing it in.

Canned food is not a slip-up

There are two types of canned ingredients that Dudash always has in her pantry: beans and tomatoes.

While multicooker machines like the Instant Pot have made preparing dried beans easier, nothing gets faster than opening a can – and there’s no shame in turning to that time-saver. “You are one of the greatest inventions of all time,” she said.

The best Dutch ovens in 2021 (CNN Underscored)Maximize the nutritional potential of canned beans and minimize salt intake by buying the low-sodium option whenever possible and draining and rinsing the beans before using them in recipes. One exception: the liquid made from chickpeas, known as aquafaba, can be used as a vegan substitute for eggs. If you want to bake with aquafaba, strain and save the drained chickpea liquid, then rinse the beans.

Even when fresh tomatoes are in season, it is always worth having a few cans of tomatoes, whether diced, mashed or whole, ready. “Canned tomatoes are essential in Mediterranean cuisine and all sorts of other cuisines,” said Dudash. They are a reliable staple for soups and stews, sauces and casseroles.

Canned tomatoes can also be more powerful cancer fighters than raw ones. All tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that gives them their red color and has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. “If you cook tomatoes or can, the lycopene content actually increases,” said Dudash. For more tips, get in touch Eat, but better, CNN’s eight-part guide to Mediterranean food, and see how easy it can be.

Casey Barber is a food writer, illustrator, and photographer; the author of “Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” and “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Branded Treats”; and editor of the website Good. Eat. Stories

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Healthy Eating

9 Peach Benefits for Skin, Health, Nutrition

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It’s not breaking news, peaches taste fresh, canned or in a cake. But peaches are not just nature’s candy; they’re also a fruit that offers a number of health benefits.

Need an excuse to order boxes of peaches? Click on “Buy” and confirm the order. Here are all the benefits of peaches.

Eating peaches every day is not a panacea, but there are many reasons to nibble on this stone fruit. This is how the potential benefits of peaches stack up.

1. Full of nutrients and antioxidants

Peaches are full of good for you vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function optimally.

Eating a large piece of fruit (225 grams) will give you a boost:

They also contain a variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that help protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals (compounds often linked to disease and cancer).

2. Help with digestion

A healthy bowel depends on good digestion, and peaches (and other high-fiber foods) can be your ticket to good digestive flow.

A single large peach (225 grams) contains nearly 3.38 grams of fiber, which helps keep things moving in your digestive tract. Fiber also keeps you “regular” (yes, we’re talking about 💩) so that you can prevent the oh-so-unpleasant constipation.

3. Improving heart health

Peaches (as well as other fruits like apples, pears, and plums) are full of flavonoids – antioxidants that can promote a healthy heart. A 2017 study found that high ingestion of flavonoids was linked to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and causes in both men and women.

Studies also suggest that consuming more foods rich in flavonoid antioxidants, like peaches, may help reduce your risk of high blood pressure (a risk factor for heart disease).

4. Can support your immune system

Peaches contain nutrients that support the immune system, such as vitamin C.

A large peach provides about 10 percent of your body’s daily vitamin C levels, which your body needs to support the immune system and protect you from infection. This will help protect your immune system and prepare it to fight off any disease or infection that may arise.

5. Help maintain a healthy weight

Nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, including peaches, are low in calories and full of nutrients to support a healthy weight.

Since they are high in water and filled with fiber, they can also help keep you feeling full longer.

6. Protect and improve skin

Thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, peaches can help improve and protect your skin.

Peaches contain vitamin C, which plays a role in maintaining overall skin health.

They also contain provitamin A, which can protect your skin from harmful UV rays and other harmful factors for a youthful glow.

Peaches are also a good source of provitamin A carotenoids, which can be converted to the active form of vitamin A in the body. Carotenoids build up in the skin and can help protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

7. Can help reduce the risk of cancer

TBH there is no single food that completely prevents cancer. But total consumption of vegetables and fruits in general is associated with a lower risk of cancer.

Research also suggests that two other antioxidants in peaches – carotenoids and caffeic acid – may be linked to preventing some cancers.

A 2014 test-tube study even found that antioxidants called polyphenols from peaches and plums could help prevent breast cancer cells from growing and spreading without harming healthy cells.

While these results are interesting, more human studies are needed in this area. And eating a peach every day won’t treat existing cancer.

8. Can help to support blood sugar regulation

Eating fruit is generally associated with lower blood sugar levels, lower blood sugar levels, and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Although it wasn’t a human study, a 2015 study in rats found that consuming peach and plum juice helped prevent risk factors related to high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular health.

9. Improve eyesight

Peaches can help keep your eyes healthy thanks to an antioxidant found in peaches called beta-carotene.

This antioxidant is what gives peaches their lovely orange color. Beyond aesthetics, beta carotene can be converted into vitamin A in your body, which is essential for your eyesight.

We all know it: you buy a bundle of fruit just to make it go bad before you can eat it all.

If you’re looking to add peaches to your shopping list but aren’t sure how to store them to keep them fresh, you’ve come to the right place.

Fresh peaches

Fresh peaches usually last about a week at room temperature, so you can usually leave them on your counter for a few days after buying them. Keep in mind that they will continue to ripen over time, so you can also keep them in the refrigerator so they don’t get overripe and mushy.

Frozen peaches

Frozen peaches are a great way to preserve your peaches (and can make a delicious smoothie!). Throw some prepackaged frozen peaches in your freezer. Or you can cut fresh peaches and freeze them yourself.

Pro Tip: Before freezing them, sprinkle fresh peaches with some lemon juice as you slice them. This will prevent them from turning brown.

Canned peaches

Canned peaches should be kept at room temperature and can be kept in your closet or pantry. Pay attention to the label for specific temperature requirements and write down the expiration date (so you can be sure that you will use it in a timely manner!). Also, keep in mind that these peaches are often bottled in a sugary syrup.

Not only are peaches widely available, but they’re super easy to prepare and delicious to eat on their own.

Here are a few of our favorite peach recipes for your enjoyment:

Peaches are packed with vitamins and antioxidants that make them a tasty and nutritious choice. Adding peaches to your diet can offer a variety of potential benefits, including improving skin, aiding immune health, and aiding digestion.

Peaches can be bought fresh, frozen, or canned. Knowing how to properly store them will make them last longer so you can get the most out of this juicy fruit. While you can enjoy peaches straight from the tree, there are also plenty of ways to prepare them to make delicious desserts and meals.

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The Worst Breakfast Habits for Inflammation, Say Dietitians — Eat This Not That

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Inflammation can be a sensitive issue. On the one hand, it is a necessary process that our bodies need to heal injuries known as acute inflammation. On the other hand, it can lead to serious health problems and illnesses when it becomes chronic, which we will refer to in this article.

Chronic inflammation can be caused by things like autoimmune diseases, exposure to toxins, obesity, and an inactive lifestyle, and according to Harvard Health, “it plays a central role” in diseases like diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and Alzheimer’s.

Because inflammation is linked to weight, diet, and exercise, there are certain foods we can eat and avoid to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation in the long term.

Read on to learn about some of the worst breakfast foods and breakfast habits for inflammation. For more inflammation tips, see Popular Foods To Reduce Inflammation After 50.

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When it comes to inflammation, added sugars and refined carbohydrates are some of the main culprits.

“One of the worst breakfast habits for inflammation is eating refined carbohydrates and foods high in added sugar like packaged pastries, donuts, and baked goods,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD Author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook.

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, registered nutritionist on our medical panel and author of The first mother’s pregnancy cookbook and Promote male fertility Agrees, saying that “sugary and refined pastries like donuts and muffins can be loaded with ingredients that can contribute to inflammation. So it’s best to stick to whole grains with no questionable ingredients instead.”

RELATED: A Major Side Effect of Eating Too Much Added Sugar, Says A New Study

Iced coffee with whipped creamShutterstock

Sometimes consuming sugar-sweetened beverages in the morning, like fancy coffee beverages or juices with added sugar, can lead to inflammation or other undesirable health problems.

“Some research suggests that excessive sugar intake can encourage the growth of inflammatory bowel bacteria, which can increase the risk of obesity and inflammatory bowel disease,” says Goodson – like blood sugar and energy levels throughout the morning and even throughout the day. “

TIED TOGETHER: Sign up for our newsletter to receive recipes and food news in your inbox every day!

Artificial sweetener coffeeShutterstock

Even if you’re not roaming the Starbucks driveway for a PSL, your morning cup of coffee can still cause unwanted inflammation.

“Coffee can be a healthy addition to a breakfast plate, depending on what’s added to your cup of joe,” says Manaker, “and adding spoons of sugar is delicious, but not the best choice when you’re trying to reduce chronic inflammation treat. “

RELATED: Coffee Habits That Make You Aging Quicker, Says Nutritionist

McDonalds breakfastJoe Raedle / Getty Images

Goodson also mentions that foods made high in trans fats cause inflammation and can have negative effects on cholesterol levels and heart health.

“These foods, such as deep-fried fast food breakfasts, goodies, pastries, baked goods made from margarine or vegetable shortening, and certain non-dairy creamer can be identified by the fact that hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils are on the ingredient list of the food,” says Goodson.

CONTINUE READING: Worst fast food breakfast according to nutritionists

baconShutterstock

Manaker warns against eating certain processed breakfast meats such as sausage or bacon on a regular basis. “These foods are linked to the development of chronic inflammation,” says Manaker, “and while it’s probably okay to eat these foods every now and then, eating them every day isn’t the best habit.”

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How to Start a Meal Plan According to Dietician

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If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed while browsing the aisles of the grocery store and waiting for inspiration to give you some direction on what to buy and cook, you are not alone. Many people buy and cook off the cuff without planning meals in advance. While this can certainly work, it is not without its pitfalls: you can be stuck in a dead end and make the same dishes over and over – and cut the variety in your diet necessary for optimal nutrition – or you can forget about ingredients you end up using or buy things that don’t go well with a cohesive meal.

Meal planning solves many of these problems and can help save time, money, and potential secondary last minute trips to the store to pick up ingredients you didn’t know you would need. Meal planning also makes it easier to stay on top of diet and weight loss goals, and to eat well-balanced, nutritious meals with plenty of variety throughout the week. While it may seem intimidating to deal with meal planning when you’ve always been spontaneous with shopping and cooking, it’s actually quite easy to start planning your weekly meals, and most people find meal planning to be the entire process Making food preparation more efficient and effective. To get the best tips and advice on getting started with meal planning, we spoke to Anna Rios, RDN, a registered nutritionist and recipe developer. Read on to learn how you can simplify and streamline your meal planning process.

What are the benefits of meal planning?

Meal planning can save time, money, and food waste by making sure you buy only what you need rather than ending up with knickknacks or added ingredients that could spoil. When shopping on the fly, you may have to make multiple trips to the store to collect everything you will ultimately need to prepare your meals. Rios adds that meal planning can improve the quality of your diet and also reduce stress. “Meal planning makes it a lot easier to stay on top of things and have balanced meals throughout the week,” she notes. “It also gives you security because you have a plan instead of having to think about what to eat at the last minute.”

How do you go about planning your meal?

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Meal planning is actually quite simple and can be broken down into a few simple steps:

  1. Select balanced recipes / dishes that you want to prepare for the week.
  2. Create a tentative / flexible meal plan for the week.
  3. Make a list of the ingredients you will need for the recipes, taking into account what you already have and what ingredients are used in multiple recipes.
  4. Buy the ingredients in the supermarket.
  5. Prepare your meals by dicing products, pre-cooking certain grains, making marinades, etc.

What factors should you consider when planning your meal?

Recipe meal planning.Unsplash

Rios says the top factors to consider when planning your meal include your budget, dietary restrictions, health goals, time, and meal preferences. It can also be helpful to think about what you already have in stock and what products or foods are in season. If you’re on a tight budget, before choosing your recipes, you can browse the flyers (online or in the mail) from your local grocery store to see upcoming sales or cut out available coupons. Once you know what foods are on offer, you can search for recipes that include those offerings to save costs. That way, you can take advantage of the cost savings without having to rethink in-store and develop a recipe that uses the sales ingredients on-site.

Another benefit of meal planning is the ability to more easily tailor what you end up preparing and eating towards your nutritional goals. Too often people intend to eat healthily or follow a specific nutritional plan like the Mediterranean Diet or the DASH Diet, but all of this can be thrown out the window while shopping on the fly or trying to cobble together a meal made with whatever ingredients at the last minute Have a hand.

“In general, you want to make sure that you consume the following food groups at every meal – proteins, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, and healthy fats. The inclusion of all food groups ensures proper nutrition, energy and will keep you full until your next meal, ”explains Rios. “It is also important to contact a registered dietitian if you have any health concerns. Everyone is different and nutritional needs vary from person to person. “

Avoid the common pitfalls of meal planning

Rios says there are some common pitfalls or obstacles in meal planning, but they can be easily circumvented. “When we set ourselves unrealistic goals, we often feel overwhelmed,” she explains. “I recommend setting realistic and achievable goals – start small! For example, start by planning a meal 1-2 days a week and build from there. You can also set a small goal for yourself, such as: B. add more plant-based meals and prepare them before the week starts. “

She also says that meal planning is a chance to add variety to your diet, which is not only optimal from a nutritional point of view, but can continue to be fun and exciting. After all, eating the same meals every day or week after week can get boring. “Make sure you allow 15-20 minutes once a week to search for new recipes or remake old favorites,” she advises.

Helpful resources for meal planning

Meal planning inspiration.Unsplash

Rios says there are many resources online that can help with meal planning. “Looking for recipes on Pinterest, MyPlate.gov, Recipe blogs and YouTube can be great motivators, ”she shares. “I love using Pinterest to organize my recipe categories from ‘quick and easy meals’ to ‘date night dinners’. Finding new and exciting recipes can also motivate you to stay on the right track. “

Flexible meal planning

A common concern with meal planning is that people fear that they will be planning a meal that they simply don’t want to prepare or eat once the day is up. Rios says that a flexible approach to meal planning can work around this problem. “Create a flexible menu so that you can eat intuitively. If one day you don’t feel like having a bowl of burrito, make another meal that you planned for that week, ”she says. “It’s also important to have backup recipes made with similar ingredients so you can change the meal up if necessary.” In other words, give yourself the freedom to postpone things a little. Your meal plan doesn’t have to be set in stone.

Last snack

Meal planning is actually quite simple and can streamline the meal time in your home. It can save you time and money, and it can keep you updated with your diet goals. “Meals to look forward to. If there’s one dish you absolutely love, double the serving for leftovers the next day, ”suggests Rio. “Try new foods. It’s important to keep it interesting and exciting! “

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