Legumes are very important in human nutrition because they are higher in protein than any other plant food and the quality of the protein they contain is high as well. Soybeans contain more protein than beef and soy products, such as soy meal and soy flour, and are often used to improve the protein content of commercially prepared foods such as pasta and bread. Because of their protein and iron content and relatively low cost, legumes are excellent meat substitutes for vegetarians and others who choose to cut back on or avoid animal foods for health or economic reasons.

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Why should beans be an important part of your diet?

Here are the top 10 reasons why beans should be incorporated into our diet:

10) Beans are an inexpensive source of vegetable protein.  They’re cheap.  Good source of protein.  And they’re not meat-based.

9) They are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber.  Dietary fiber is so good for our insides.  In a previous article, entitled “Why we need dietary fiber”, the many benefits of fiber are outlined.

8) They are a good source of vitamins and minerals.  Beans are an excellent source of thiamin and folate.  A good intake of folate is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in some individuals.  Beans are also rich in magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese, and are a good source of potassium, riboflavin, vitamin b6, and contain some calcium and selenium.

7) They are naturally low in sodium.

6) Beans are naturally low in…

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Researchers have long theorized that a Mediterranean diet full of vegetables, fruit, fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil can help promote good health.

 Mediterranean Diet

The term ‘Mediterranean Diet’ refers to dietary patterns that characterized certain Mediterranean regions early sixties, such as Crete, parts of the Greek mainland and

Southern Italy. Historically, these dietary patterns characterized by an abundant consumption of plant foods (vegetables, fruit, bread, pasta, legumes and nuts), olive oil as the primary source of fat and moderate quantities of fish, poultry, meat, dairy products, eggs and wine. The Mediterranean diet is low in saturated fatty acids and contains a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, mainly from olive oil.

Mediterranean diet improves physical and mental well-being to advance quality of life

Researchers designed their study to examine the effect of the Mediterranean diet on 11,000 university students over a period of four years. Dietary intake of the participants was recorded at the beginning of the study, and self-perceived quality of life was measured after the four year monitoring period. In order to determine whether the Mediterranean diet was followed, consumption of vegetables, pulses, fruit, nuts, cereals and fish was rated positively. Consumption of excess meat, dairy products and alcohol was negatively valued, as they do not adhere to Mediterranean dietary standards.

 

The study team determined that those who align closely with the Mediterranean diet score higher on the quality of life questionnaire in terms of physical and mental well-being. Dr. Henriquez-Sanchez concluded “the Mediterranean diet is an important factor associated with better quality of life and can be considered as a healthy food model.” The Mediterranean diet prescribes three basic elements: lean protein sources (fish, lean meat and eggs, preferably organically raised and harvested), fruit and vegetables and unprocessed monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. Furthermore, it must include a daily intake of 1.5 to 2 liters of fresh water.

A wealth of scientific research over the past several years has shown that the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle provides significant benefits for conditions ranging from arthritis, allergies and asthma to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cardiovascular health. Health-minded individuals fully comprehend that vibrant health is realized by avoiding sugar, sweets, cakes, pastries, hydrogenated fats and sweetened beverages. The Mediterranean diet constitutes an important tool to maintain health and attain optimal quality of life.

 

Mediterranean Diet Extends Lifespan by Twenty Percent

The result of the study indicated that those who eat a Mediterranean diet have a 20% higher chance of living longer. The study leader, Dr. Gianluca Tognon, commented: “This means in practice that older people who eat a Mediterranean diet live an estimated two to three years longer than those who don’t”. Three additional studies awaiting publication support these results. Dr. Tognon concluded: “there is no doubt that a Mediterranean diet is linked to better health, not only for the elderly but also for youngsters.”

An independent study found that overeating may cause brain aging while eating less turns on a molecule that helps the brain stay young. Italian researchers demonstrated that a molecule called CREB1 is triggered by a calorie restricted diet and activates many genes linked to longevity and to the proper functioning of the brain. Calorie restriction is defined as eating 25 to 30 percent less than normal while maintaining optimal nutrition.

Researchers conducting the study concluded: “This discovery has important implications to develop future dietary therapies to keep our brain young and prevent brain degeneration and the aging process.” Compiling the available scientific evidence shines a critical light on how the type of food we consume (Mediterranean diet) and the quantity (Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition) can help prevent premature brain aging and lower the risk of cognitive decline as we age.

About the author:
John Phillip is a Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of ‘Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan’, a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your Free 48 page copy of ‘Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan’.