Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My FAVORITE Diet!

Dr. Manuel Diaz
It seems as though most people who read my blog are most interested in how to lose weight and what foods and diets in particular help them to achieve that. In my opinion, one of the best "diets" to follow is the Mediterranean diet. A very good friend (and excellent physician) of mine, is a very big believer in the Mediterranean diet. One reason why I wanted to interview him about the diet was not only because of his knowledge on it, but also because he follows it!

 Dr. Manny Diaz is an internal medicine physician in Miami. He prides himself on promoting general health and wellness while helping his patients to achieve their best health possible. He places emphasis on lifestyle modification and cardiovascular disease prevention. (Thumbs up!) I decided to have a quick interview with Dr. Diaz today to pick his brain about the Mediterranean diet....(also, to give you ladies out there a little male attention!)

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Dr. Tiffany: What are the principals of the Mediterranean diet?

Dr. Diaz: The Mediterranean diet is meant to be part of the Mediterranean lifestyle, which includes a moderate amount of regular physical activity. An emphasis is placed on whole grains as opposed to refined sugars, lean protein (fish), healthy fats (olive oil, nuts and avocados), plenty of fruits and vegetables, and red wine in moderation.

Dr. Tiffany: What are some of the dietary advantages of this lifestyle, in particular, the consumption of less red meat?

Dr. Diaz: Red meat, in general, tends to contain a lot of saturated fats, and the consumption of high amounts of saturated fats (as opposed to monounsaturated fats) has shown to be detrimental to blood cholesterol levels, and by extension, the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Tiffany: Why is olive oil so beneficial to our health?

Dr. Diaz: Olive oil, which is the primary fat consumed as part of the Mediterranean diet, is full of monounsaturated fatty acids, and other substances known as polyphenols. These healthy fats can help to lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides. On the other hand, the good cholesterol (HDL) is maintained, and in some cases even raised. Both of these effects on cholesterol are known to be very beneficial in terms of cardiovascular disease prevention.

Dr. Tiffany: What type of health benefits would we gain from following this diet?

Dr. Diaz and myself discussing the Mediterranean diet...and catching up!
Dr. Diaz: It has been observed that people living in the Mediterranean regions, and particular, those who still subscribe to a traditional Mediterranean lifestyle, have a much lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. This is opposed to people living in other parts of the world, in particular North America and Northern Europe. Of course, the effects of this diet, and the people who follow the lifestyle in the Mediterranean region, is just an observed association which illustrates an observation and not necessarily cause and effect.

Dr. Tiffany: Are there any possible health concerns from the Mediterranean diet?

Dr. Diaz: There are not many direct issues with the Mediterranean diet. Any diet which is completely void of certain types of protein (like red meat) may result in other nutrient deficiencies, such as iron and vitamin B12. For clarity, the Mediterranean diet is not a vegetarian diet, nor does it require that no red meat is consumed. Rather, the diet allows for certain items, like red meat, to be consumed in moderation. Remember, the key in dieting is moderation.

Dr. Tiffany: What are some of your favorite foods from the Mediterranean diet?

Dr. Diaz: One of my all time favorites is hummus. It is easy, versatile and delicious. Lamb kabobs are also very flavorful and healthy as well. Any Greek meze platter is also great with the feta cheese, vegetables and olives...a Greek staple!

You can follow Dr. Diaz on facebook here, and catch his blog here.

Until next time!

xo,

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