The mediterranean region has been extensively studied for their low incidence fo chronic diseases and remarkably increased longevity for some time. The typical Mediterranean diet starkly contrasts the average American diet, with many of their key choices seeming to be a factor in their better overall health. The Mediterranean diet we use at GeneFoods is largely based on the science behind the diet of those who live in the Mediterranean.
Before we delve into this diet, lets take a look at some of the contrasting dietary practices that are true of the average American diet. A key contributor to chronic disease is what seems like a never-ending increase in portion size in the United States. Pair these large portion sizes with an increase amount of high fat, fried foods and it’s no wonder that our caloric intake is rapidly increasing.
Mediterranean Plate with White Bean Puree, Hearts of Palm Salad & Olive Tapenade
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 salads 1x
1/2 cup Eden Organic Cannellini Beans
1 Tbsp Gopal’s Raw Organic Sesame Tahini, divided
2 cloves garlic, divided
1 lemon, juiced & divided
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp 365 Organic Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Native Forest Organic Hearts of Palm, chopped
1/4 cup red onions, sliced
1 cup cucumbers, chopped
1/2 cup red bell peppers, chopped
1/4 cup Mediterranean Organics Kalamata Olives, pitted and minced
- In a high speed blender, combine beans, tahini paste, 1 garlic clove, lemon juice and walnuts then process until smooth then transfer to a bowl
- In a bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, dijon and thyme (optional add olive oil)
- Place hearts of palm, cucumbers red onion and red bell peppers in a bowl then add dressing and toss to combine
- Scoop salad onto plate and top with white bean puree and olives
- Serving Size: 1/2 of recipe
- Calories: 191.6
- Sugar: 4.5
- Sodium: 347.5
- Fat: 10.2
- Saturated Fat: 2.0
- Unsaturated Fat: 4.69
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 21.8
- Fiber: 6.0
- Protein: 7.1
- Cholesterol: 0
Additionally, many of these calories come int eh form of “empty calories,” meaning they contribute little to no nutritional value to help aid our bodies is fighting disease. These dietary habits paired with the sedentary lifestyles that are becoming more prevalent leads to an overall increase in the risk of chronic diseases. This is not just due to poor food choices, but also to inaccessibility in many areas to fresh, healthy food.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages higher consumptions of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and lower intake of calories, saturated fat, sodium, refined grains and added sugars. These guidelines were crafted to target chronic disease by addressing the underconsumption of relevant vitamins and minerals including vitamin D, calcium, potassium and fiber. These recommendations strongly parallel the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet has an overarching theme which has proven digestible (pun intended) for the average consumer. It was first defined by Ancel Keys, who studied 7 key countries in his well-named Seven Countries Study and found 2 major dietary trends: 1. Low saturated fat intake and, 2. High vegetable oil intake. Over the course of 25 years, he observed a significantly reduced risk in heart disease compared to other countries.
Other researchers have since added on to Keys’ key characteristics, noting the following nutrition patterns (R):
- Extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
- Vegetables, including leafy greens
- Pulses and legumes
- Fish and other meat
- Dairy products
- Red wine
The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and chronic disease-fighting potential of this diet strongly lies in the bioactive compounds, which includes polyphenols and phytosterols. The diet is high in a specific type of polyphenol called flavonoids, which have incredible antioxidant properties. The primary sources in the diet come from olive oil, coffee, tea, nuts, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices (R).
While our recipe was inspired by the Mediterranean diet, we’ve left it oil-free to accommodate more diet types. If you’re diet allows for oil, go ahead and drizzle some organic extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil into your dressing or over top of the salad.
You can make this easy puree with almost any legume or pulse. You can mix up the legume or mix up the spices and vegetables to get some variety.
The very latest on genetics, nutrition and supplements delivered to your inbox!
Have a question?
We’re experimenting with QA rather than a comments section.