Mediterranean diets are often recommended for people who are looking to become more health conscious through the foods they consume. A traditional Mediterranean diet is typically restricted to small quantities of dairy. This dairy usually comes in the form of yogurt and cheese, making it particularly difficult for dairy lovers to follow.
However, recent studies have introduced a modified Mediterranean diet that promotes more dairy consumption. Those who want to enjoy the benefits of a Mediterranean diet without restricting their dairy intake should highly consider a MedDairy diet instead.
A MedDairy diet utilizes the basic principles of the Mediterranean diet while allowing you to consume more dairy for health-based purposes. When you eat cheese or drink milk, you incorporate higher levels of calcium into your diet, which is beneficial to your bone health. Through the MedDairy diet, you consume dairy while still maintaining your ability to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. More information about how to transition into a MedDairy diet and the various health benefits of such a diet are covered below.
What are the benefits of consuming dairy?
Dairy consumption has several key benefits, many of which can be lost entirely when a dieter restricts his or her dairy intake through a conventional Mediterranean diet. When dieters follow the appropriate dairy servings associated with the MedDairy diet, they create numerous health benefits for themselves in the process. In fact, studies show dieters who follow the diet and consume three to four servings of dairy per day, have lower levels of cholesterol.
Furthermore, consuming a controlled amount of dairy per day is proven to improve an individual’s blood pressure and heart rate. This effectively reduces the risk of developing heart disease and cardiac-related episodes. Adopting the MedDairy diet can be especially beneficial for those who have previously suffered from heart-related health issues in the past. Those who follow the MedDairy diet as instructed can also reduce the risk of experiencing a stroke or developing diabetes. Those at risk of developing type-2 diabetes benefit from increased dairy consumption as low-fat dairy foods contain significantly less saturated fat than other items.
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Consuming the recommended servings of dairy per day can also increase bone mass, leading to improved bone health in a dieter’s senior years. In fact, elderly individuals are strongly encouraged to consider a MedDairy diet. Many studies indicate seniors who practice a variant of the Mediterranean diet have longer life expectancies. Dairy provides important nutrients, many of which are difficult to find in alternative sources. This includes calcium, vitamins D, A, and B12, as well as magnesium. While the traditional Mediterranean trend neglects these essential vitamins, the MedDairy diet promotes them.
What does a MedDairy diet entail?
When you follow a MedDairy diet, it is recommended that you incorporate three to four servings of dairy per day, in addition to the essential attributes of the Mediterranean diet. You can choose to consume any dairy items you prefer to fit these servings. However, most Mediterranean dieters include yogurt, cream, cheese or milk, depending upon their personal preferences. If you are 45 years of age or older, implement low-fat options to ensure you do not suffer any adverse effects associated with consuming too much dairy, such as an increase in your cholesterol levels.
A standard Mediterranean diet consists of the following:
- Consuming unrefined grains
- Increasing intake of fruits and vegetables
- Increasing intake of legumes
- Incorporating a moderate to high intake of fish
- Lowering the overall consumption of red meat, such as steak and beef
- Lowering consumption of poultry, such as chicken
- Lowering sugar intake
- Increasing intake of monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil
Adjust your daily needs in accordance with this generalized list and consult with your primary care physician to ensure it is safe for you to make these adjustments. Your physician may advise against the decreased consumption of proteins, such as steak and poultry, and can help you make dietary changes without putting your health at risk. When you practice either a MedDairy or Mediterranean diet, it is also advisable that you restrict your ethanol intake. This primarily refers to the amount of wine you consume.
How do I incorporate the MedDairy diet into my existing food intake?
You may be wondering how you can incorporate the MedDairy diet into your existing diet. First, ensure you consume the proper amount of nutrients for your age group and sex. For example, teenagers need approximately 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day to meet the recommended serving amount. On the other hand, adult men and women only need to consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Any dieter over eight years of age must have at least three separate servings of calcium per day.
Adjust your MedDairy diet in accordance with the amount of calcium, protein, fat and carbohydrates recommended to you by a health care professional or dietician. If you are lactose intolerant and cannot consume dairy but wish to follow a Mediterranean diet, try incorporating other natural sources of calcium into your meals, such as:
- Sesame seeds.
- Collard greens.
- Orange juice.
There are plenty of recipes online that adhere to the MedDairy diet and can be incorporated into your meal plan. As one of the most common dietary trends, you can find options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are looking to implement aspects of a MedDairy diet into your child’s eating routine, consult with his or her primary care physician to determine how many servings of dairy per day is advisable for children younger than eight years of age.
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