Mediterranean Diet: Key Takeaways for Your Healthiest Self

Today I wanted to share a bit about the principles of a MEDITERRANEAN, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET, which I personally apply a lot in my personal life, and recommend as a general starting point with most of my health coaching clients.

The Mediterranean diet is all about eating fresh, whole foods and keeping your heart healthy with tons of fiber and healthy fats.

It focuses on eating a wide variety of local produce, particularly colorful fruits and veggies packed with antioxidants. So it’s essentially a high-antioxidant and anti-inflammatory diet.

The BEST part about it is that it’s pretty relaxed and balanced. It encourages eating all food groups, drinking your water, even occasional coffee, red wine and dark chocolate are totally OK. Then accompanying these foods with a lifestyle of plenty exercise, time with family and friends, time in nature, and of course, promotes ENJOYING YOUR FOOD. (Think of the Italians and Greeks!). Not too complicated.

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Why You Should Be Eating More Chocolate

Halloween is around the corner, and many of us are worried about the temptation of all the candy and chocolate all around us.

But the good news is – you CAN indulge in chocolate and stay healthy! Dark Chocolate is loaded with fiber, protein and important minerals (including magnesium and iron) and contains an ideal fatty acid profile. Having about 1 ounce of organic dark chocolate (70-90% cocoa) is a healthy and delicious addition to your diet.

READ MORE for some awesome benefits of consuming dark chocolate, and to learn what to look far and brands I recommend!

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The Nutritious Seed You Never Thought of Eating

I think most of you know of my love-affair with avocados. I could eat them with every meal - they’re so delicious, versatile, and good for you. But what I never knew until recently is that the seed/pit of the avocado has a ton of health benefits as well.

Here are some of the known benefits of the Avocado Seed:

  • Helps ease digestive issues - avocado seeds are primarily known for their amazing ability to alleviate GI tract issues, ranging from gastric ulcers to constipation.
  • Full of antioxidants with anti-cancer properties – it’s estimated that 70% of the antioxidants in avocados are actually found in the seed! The seed contains phenolic compounds and flavonols, which help prevent/reduce tumor growth.
  • Fights inflammation - the high level of antioxidants (including catechins and procyandins) act as anti-inflammatory agents, reducing swelling/stiffness of joints, as well as improving blood circulation.
  • Boosts immunity – avocado seeds help reduce free radicals and prevent against bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Lowers cholesterol - avocados and their seeds are very rich in soluble fiber, which binds to excess fat and cholesterol, also improving heart function.
  • Helps fight cravings and burn fat – the high levels of soluble fat keeps you full and balances your blood sugar levels, which helps avoid that mid-afternoon sugar craving.

How do you eat the seed?

It’s actually fairly simple! 

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HOW ADDING COLOR TO YOUR PLATE CAN BOOST YOUR HEALTH & BEAUTY

Including different COLORS in your plate – coming primarily from nutritious vegetables and fruits - is an easy and fun way to maximize the nutritional benefits of your meals (and make them more visually appealing!). Eating a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies will help to increase your immunity, strengthen your muscles and bones, slow down your aging, improve your skin, and more!

 

There are 5 main colors, and I suggest to have at least 3 colors present in each meal, ideally some green plus 2 other colors. And aim to have a bit of each color every day. This goes hand in hand with a recommendation that I give my clients, which is to include at least 2 different veggies (or fruits) in each meal. And every day, I suggest (generally speaking) having 5+ servings of veggies and 2 servings of fruit, always switching it up.

Here are the benefits of each color, and some healthy foods in each category:

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10 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Inflammation in the body is one of the biggest issues leading to chronic disease, such as obesity, arthritis, heart problems and even cancer.

But inflammation doesn’t necessarily show up through puffiness and redness. Most often, we have internal inflammation that isn’t visible to us, but is present inside our bodies (aka silent inflammation). It’s building up, and it’s causing (for now) just minor things such as digestive issues, allergies, and basic skin problems. And if you don’t work NOW to control this inflammation, it will leader to more serious illnesses down the road.

The easiest and most effective way to taper inflammation is through your diet. After all, food is your best medicine. Start by eliminating processed foods, and then adding in naturally anti-inflammatory foods, including a variety of high-quality spices and herbs.

The following 10 foods, herbs and spices are among the best natural sources for reducing inflammation. I’ve also included tips for easy way you can start incorporating them into your day-to-day diet.

1.  Omega-3 fatty acids – from fatty fish like wild salmon, krill, as well as vegetarian sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds & olive oil. You can also consider taking a fish-oil supplement.

Tip: Try adding 1 tbsp of ground flaxseeds to your morning oatmeal / yogurt / smoothie.

2.  Dark Leafy Greens – These are some of the healthiest foods period, and among other things, they help with your body’s detoxification, flushing out some of this inflammation. They also contain lots of fiber and water which help with weight loss and contributes to beautiful skin and hair (among so many other benefits)! These greens include leaves such as: kale, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, escarole and watercress.

Tip: Start having a fresh or cold-pressed green juice once a day, either with breakfast or as a snack between meals.

 3.  Berries – Berries contain flavonoids which contribute to their blue/purple/red coloring and have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. These include goji berries, blueberries, blackberries raspberries, cranberries, cherries, and less common ones such as bilberries, mulberries, elderberry and gooseberry.

Tip: Add a handful of berries to your breakfast porridge or yogurt, to your green smoothies, and/or enjoy them as a snack with a few raw nuts.

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