Mediterranean Diet Guide: Food Lists & Meal Planning Tips
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
The Mediterranean Diet is a heart-healthy eating plan focusing on whole foods and limiting processed foods.
Implementing a Mediterranean Diet can help you reach your health goals.
Clinical trials support that adding fatty15 to your diet can help support your long-term health goals better than following the Mediterranean Diet alone.
Maybe you’ve tried or considered trying it. Every time you hear a friend say they’re going on the Mediterranean Diet, your curiosity has been piqued. That’s good news because research shows that the Mediterranean Diet is a heart-healthy diet that can improve many important health markers.
Even better news is that a newly published clinical trial revealed that the Mediterranean Diet, when accompanied by daily supplementation with pentadecanoic acid (C15:0), results in additional health benefits, including boosting your cellular health.
Together, we’ll unpack the study and talk about the benefits of this diet when combined with C15:0. We’ll also talk about how to plan your meals and shopping trips to stay successful.
Mediterranean Diet + C15:0: A Winning Combination
Recently, researchers placed three groups of people with similar baseline health markers on three separate diets. One group was placed on the Mediterranean Diet, the second group was placed on the Mediterranean Diet and given a C15:0 supplement daily, and the third group (the control group) was instructed to eat a typical diet.
All three groups were told to restrict their calories to daily levels between 1,000 and 1,500. At the end of the study, the results were impressive.
Group 1: The Control Group
At the end of the study, the group treated with a calorie-restricted diet only experienced weight loss, lower blood pressure, and better insulin regulation.
Group 2: The Mediterranean Diet
The second group that adhered to calorie restriction plus a Mediterranean Diet experienced the same benefits and, additionally, experienced a greater reduction in body weight, lower BMI (body mass index), lower levels of liver fat, lower cholesterol, and blood triglyceride levels, and lower levels of liver enzyme GGT.
Group 3: The Mediterranean Diet + C15:0
This group produced the most impressive health benefits of all. In addition to the above improvements, this group also had significantly lower total fat mass, visceral adipose tissue, and subcutaneous adipose tissue.
The C15:0 supplemented group also had the best LDL cholesterol levels and the healthiest microbiome.
What Is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet isn’t complicated, but it does require some planning before you go to the grocery store.
The diet itself has been around since the 1960s. A study discovered fewer occurrences of heart disease in some Mediterranean countries (like Greece and Italy) than in the United States and Europe.
It’s no secret that heart disease has been the number one killer of Americans for decades, so adopting a diet that could help reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease is desirable.
What’s on the Menu
The Mediterranean Diet consists primarily of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. On this diet, you’ll eat fresh fruits, whole grains (like whole grain bread, rolled oats, and other complex carbohydrates), as well as healthy fats each day (usually in the form of extra-virgin olive oil).
You’ll also consume lean proteins like legumes, fish, poultry, eggs, and beans. While dairy products aren’t excluded from the Mediterranean Diet, you’ll only eat moderate amounts.
Dairy products, especially whole dairy, like whole milk and full-fat butter, can pack in excess calories in the form of sugar (lactose) and unhealthy, even-chain saturated fats. This is likely why a recent large-scale study showed that adults who drink more dairy milk are more likely to have a higher body weight.
The Mediterranean Diet is also light on red meat and foods containing added sugar.
How To Shop
A great rule of thumb when preparing your grocery list is to stay as close to the perimeter of the market as possible. Here, you’ll be more likely to find whole foods, fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products.
It’s also important to shop for what is in season. A tenant of the Mediterranean Diet is eating seasonally available fruits and vegetables, so visiting a farmer’s market might also be a good option.
How To Eat
You don’t have to be Greek to eat like a Greek. There are several differences between how the people who live in the Mediterranean area eat and how we eat in America.
- Eat two to three servings of fruit and four servings of veggies daily.
- Swap out refined carbohydrates for complex carbs and whole grains.
- Replace your red meat with seafood.
- Snack on nuts and seeds.
- Share your dinner with family and friends.
- Enjoy a small glass of red wine with your meal.
- Eat lentils, legumes, and beans daily.
In addition, slow down. While we are prone to eating on the go, Mediterranean culture observes mealtime as more of an event. Lastly, be choosy about your dietary fats.
Is Fat Healthy?
The Mediterranean Diet focuses on using plant-based fats from oils like olive oil and nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like mackerel and sardines. A Mediterranean-style diet is usually very low in saturated fat, but as it turns out, not all saturated fat is bad.
Remember the supplement that improved upon the Mediterranean Diet? It’s a saturated fatty acid, C15:0, that has been established as essential. This means our bodies need it to thrive but can’t make it on their own; we have to get it from our diets or through supplementation.
Science supports that higher levels of odd-chain saturated fatty acids, specifically C15:0, are associated with better heart health. Further, higher levels of C15:0 have been repeatedly associated with healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
What About Omega-3?
Omega-3 fatty acids are somewhat of a staple in the Mediterranean Diet. You’ll be getting plenty of omega-3 through your consumption of fatty fish and olive oil. As beneficial as omega may be, research supports that C15:0 has many more health benefits.
When compared head to head, C15:0 is better, safer, and more effective for our cells than the purest and highest-performing form of omega-3.
How Can I Get C15:0?
C15:0 is found in trace amounts in whole milk and full-fat butter, which we’ve established packs on calories and added sugar to our diets; not a very Mediterranean-style eating pattern. In addition, whole milk and full-fat dairy contain high levels of unhealthy, even-chain saturated fats that are continually associated with poorer health.
That is probably why studies evaluating the effects of milk on our health are mixed (some say dairy fat is bad for us, while others say it is good for us). Another problem with dairy consumption is the delivery of the C15:0 within the dairy itself.
In milk, C15:0 is attached to branches of lipids called triacylglycerides, aka triglycerides. That means our gut has to use digestive enzymes to break down these triacylglycerides to release C15:0 as a free fatty acid.
Once C15:0 is released, it is ready to be absorbed. These multiple steps can make our absorption of C15:0 from foods less efficient.
A solution? Fatty15.
Fatty15: The C15:0 Solution
How do you get all the added benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and C15:0 without adding extra calories and bad fats? You take fatty15.
Fatty15 is the first and only C15:0 supplement, which doctors and scientists developed to support your long-term health. Fatty15 contains only a single ingredient: a pure, bioavailable, sustainable, vegan-friendly, award-winning C15:0 powder.
No cows, and only one single calorie. That is something both your doctor and your dietitian can get behind.
In addition to supporting your body and improving your health markers, fatty15 targets the very foundation of your health: your cells, keeping them healthy and reversing the cellular aging process.
As our cells age, we age, and we develop chronic diseases and age-related illnesses. Diseases and negative health markers like:
- Poor insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Unregulated cholesterol
- Excess weight (especially around the midsection)
These health markers place us at a higher risk of developing debilitating illnesses, and the changes start within the cells through what researchers are now referring to as the 12 Hallmarks of Aging.
By integrating into our cells, C15:0 helps reverse cellular aging by:
- Strengthening cellular membranes. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that armors our cell membranes against age-related breakdown. Studies have shown that pure C15:0 improves cellular strength by 80%.
- Eradicating damaged cells. Cells that have lost their function but aren’t properly eliminated by the body can cause unhealthy inflammation and toxicity. By activating the body’s clean-up molecule, AMPK, C15:0 helps eliminate these “zombie” cells and improve total body homeostasis. AMPK also plays a role in glucose uptake and immunity, and activating AMPK C15:0 helps restore balance to these functions.
- Providing mitochondrial support. As our cells age, the mitochondria, which provide energy, begin to slow down. Slower mitochondria produce less ATP (energy) and more reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can cause inflammation. C15:0 rescues our mitochondria, repairing their function and decreasing ROS by 45%. One peer-reviewed study showed that C15:0 increased ATP production in cells by 350%.
- Restoring balance to sleep, mood, and appetite. By activating receptors known as PPARs, C15:0 helps restore homeostasis to these functions while simultaneously supporting aspects of metabolic, immune, heart, and liver health functions also governed by PPAR receptors.
In addition to choosing a Mediterranean way of eating, taking fatty15 each day is one of the best and most effective steps you can take to support your health long term.
Eating the Mediterranean Way
The success of any diet rests on your ability to make it work for your lifestyle. One of the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet is that it includes plenty of great-tasting, healthy foods and is known for helping keep your belly full.
Whether you plan to use a lower-calorie Mediterranean diet in the short term or a full-calorie Mediterranean diet in the long term, you can enjoy the benefits of weight reduction, better health markers, and a lower risk of certain diseases.
Leveling up your health stack is easy. Add the once-a-day C15:0 supplement that science supports as a way to get even more benefits out of your Mediterranean style of eating.
Fatty15 helps support your short-term and long-term health goals so you can live a longer, healthier life.
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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