Implementing the Mediterranean Diet: Vegetables
The increase of vegetables in the diet is one way to reduce inflammation.
Vegetables are an important part of the Mediterranean diet, providing essential nutrients. A diet rich in vegetables that contain antioxidants. As a result, the Med diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia, and anti-inflammatory diseases.
Vegetables are low in calories, but high in nutrient density. In addition to providing high nutrient value, they provide satiety. Thus making vegetables the cornerstone for weight loss and maintenance.
How Much is a Serving?
One serving of vegetables is 3 ounces (85 grams) of raw or double that cooked. Three servings of vegetables a day is the daily goal. Without a doubt, the more vegetables, the better.
Breakfast ideas for vegetables include what you might put in an omelet: tomatoes, spinach, onions, and chives. Even the breakfast bites can have multiple vegetables in them.
While salads are great for lunch, filled with kale, radishes, and carrots, don't forget that you can pile a sandwich with lettuce, cucumbers, sprouts, and tomato.
Need a snack during the middle of the day, plan on carrots for the afternoon and for the drive home. You can't fall asleep while chewing on carrots.
Broccoli might be a great snack before dinner. Raw, even if you have a bit of ranch dressing. Buy packets of dry ranch dry ingredients and add to Greek yogurt.
Don't forget that dinner salad. Make it large and beautiful.
Supplements Are Not the Same
Vegetables contain nutrients that your body needs. They are rich in magnesium, potassium, and folate.
There is no supplement that can replace vegetables.
Do Vegetables Have Anti-nutrients?
Every study has shown that an increase in vegetables decreases heart disease, cancer, and inflammation.
People who sell supplements often point out that vegetables have anti-nutrients in them. I have talked about this in a previous podcast and post (here). Of the various supplement salesmen out there, from the self-described Carnivore and his business partner Liver King to Dr. Gundry.
Legumes like beans and lentils are nutrient-rich, protein-, and fiber-rich foods whose benefits outweigh any lectin. High doses of lectins, when fed to animals, lead to diarrhea, inflammation, and other problems. These problems have never been seen in human studies with normal foods. The main lectins are destroyed by cooking, soaking, sprouting, fermenting, boiling, and canning.
All human trials show that diets rich in legumes, and whole grains, lead to better health.
Oxalates can be absorbed from the gut, bind to calcium, and cause calcium kidney stones. They will also bind other minerals, such as zinc. This has led some to avoid healthy foods like spinach, swiss chard, amaranth, taro, sweet potatoes, beets, rhubarb, and sorrel.
Cooking greatly decreases the oxalate content. In addition, cooking increases the nutrients of the vegetables available for absorption. The higher the vegetable content, the higher the mineral content of the diet, the fewer kidney stones are formed. People who consume a DASH diet have a 40-50% decreased risk of kidney stones (reference). The DASH diet is the American version of the Mediterranean diet.