"Green" Mediterranean diet: Better than the original?

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Published: March, 2021

Widely considered the healthiest diet for your heart, the Mediterranean diet is rich in plant-based foods and features only small amounts of meat and dairy products. But a variation that includes more green plant foods may be even better for you, a small study suggests.

The study included 294 sedentary, moderately obese people whom researchers randomly divided into three groups. Each received different dietary advice: a standard healthy diet, a low-calorie Mediterranean diet, or a "green" Mediterranean diet. Both Mediterranean diet groups included about a quarter-cup of walnuts daily, and poultry and fish replaced beef and lamb.

People following the green version of the diet were also encouraged to drink three to four cups of green tea daily, along with a daily shake made with duckweed, an aquatic plant that's high in protein.

After six months, people following the "green Med" diet reaped the most health benefits compared with the other two groups. They experienced greater improvements in several heart-related risk factors, including decreases in body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation). The study was published online Nov. 23, 2020, by the journal Heart.

Image: Adisak Mitrprayoon/Getty Images

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