Initially, diet plans are designed for those who want to lose weight. These days, health experts have designed diet plans for health purposes, especially for those with special medication. Here, we have picked top 5 diet plans for health purposes.
The famous Mediterranean diet integrates traditional healthy lifestyle of peoples from other countries in Mediterranean Sea, France, Greece, Spain, and Italy. Diet is composed of fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, fish, cereal grains, and olive oil.
Research shows that Mediterranean diet with exercise, may help to reduce risks of Alzheimer’s illness, heart problems and some types of cancer. It was found out through a study that using Mediterranean diet had 30% reduced heart problem risks and stroke. It is also believed to promote longer healthier life. The key to this diet is low saturated fat, rich healthy oils like olive oil, fresh vegetables and fruits.
Mediterranean diet promotes the eating of fruits and vegetables, legumes and seeds, nuts, whole grains, potatoes, herbs and spices, fish, seafood, breads, and extra-virgin olive oil. It recommends moderate use of eggs, choose, poultry, and yogurt. It suggests to consume red meat rarely and avoid sugar-sweetened drinks, added sugars, refined grains, highly processed foods, processed meat, and refined oils.
What to Avoid
Added sugars may mean candies, table sugar, soda, ice cream, and the like. Refined grains are pasta that is made with refined wheat and white bread. Avoid trans fat that are found in margarine and other processed foods. Refined oils such as canola oil, cottonseed oil, and soybean should also be avoided. The diet also suggests not to eat processed meat like hotdogs and sausages.
What to Drink
Water is basic for the diet. It suggests moderate amount of red wine or about 1 glass daily. But for individuals who have alcoholism problems should avoid red wine.
Coffee and tea are allowed for this diet but avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and processed fruit juices that are high in sugars.
Click here for sample recipe.
#Low-Carb Food-based Diet
The famous low-carb diet promotes eating less carbohydrates and high proportion of fats. The diet is also known as “low-carb, high-fat diet” or LCHF or keto diet. It recommends less intake of starches and sugars and eat delicious foods until you are satisfied.
Studies were conducted and showed that avoiding starches and sugars may stabilize blood sugar levels and fat-storing hormone insulin. This means increase of burning of fats and makes one feel more satisfied, thus, less intake of food that may cause loss of weight. The diet involves high protein, fat and healthy vegetables intake.
With low carb diet, it recommends eating of fish, meat, vegetables and fruits, eggs, high-fat dairy, nuts and seeds, some tubers and non-gluten grains, fats and healthy oils. Avoid intake of sugars, HFCS, highly processed food, low-fat foods, wheat, seed oils, and trans fat.
What Not to Eat
Particularly avoid sugar-based foods like fruit juices, soft drinks, candy, ice cream, and agave. Shun away from gluten grains like barley, rye, wheat, breads, pasta and spelt. Avoid trans fats such as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, high omega 6 seeds and vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, grape seed, safflower, canola oils, and corn. With this low carb diet, it is not recommended to take artificial sweeteners like saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, cyclamates, acesulfame but you may use Stevia.
Avoid highly processed foods and diet and low fat foods such as cereals, crackers, and most of dairy products.
What to Eat
Low carb diet primarily consists of real low carb foods and unprocessed. Eat more of vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, and fruits such as pears, blueberries and strawberries, and apples. It recommends intake of meat such as beef, pork, lamb, chicken and grass-fed meat is considered best. Eat fish like salmon, haddock, trout, and the like. Eggs with omega-3 enriched and pastured eggs are allowed with this diet. You can eat nuts and seeds like sunflower seeds, almonds, and walnuts, high fat dairy like butter, heavy cream, cheese, and yogurt. It also recommends to eat fats and oils like coconut oil, olive oil, cod fish liver oil, lard, and butter.
If your goal is to lose weight, do not eat more than one fruit daily and be careful with the cheese and nuts because you tend to overeat them.
If your goal is to maintain healthy condition and you do not have to lose weight, you may eat small amount of carbohydrates such as tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes, non-gluten grains like oats, rice, quinoa, and the like. You may also eat legumes such as lentils, pinto beans, and black beans.
You may also take in moderation dark chocolates with 70% cocoa and wine but choose dry wines without added sugars or carbs. Drinks such as water, tea, coffee, and sugar-free carbonated drinks such as sparkling water.
Click here for sample recipe.
Paleo diet is a result of the foods from our hunter-gatherer forefathers which includes whole unprocessed foods. There are studies that show that Paleo diet helps individuals who want to lose weight, without the hassle of counting calories, and some improvements in health condition.
With Paleo diet, you may eat fish, meat, vegetables and fruits, eggs, healthy fats and oils, seeds and nuts, spices and herbs. Try to avoid processed foods such as softdrinks, sugar, grains, margarine, trans fats, vegetable oils, legumes, artificial sweeteners, and most of dairy products.
What to Avoid:
Avoid sugars and high fructose corn syrup including fruit juices, soft drinks, candies, ice creams, table sugar, and pastries. Shun away from grains like pasta, bread, rye, barley, wheat, and spelt. Avert from eating legumes such as beans, lentils, and the like, and dairy products including those with low-fat, vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oils, and grape seed oils.
Shun away from trans fats especially those found in margarine and processed foods, particularly those with “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils. Avoid taking artificial sweeteners including Saccharin, Sucralose, Cyclamates, and Aspartame, and high processed foods especially those labelled “diet” or “low-fat”. Avoid artificial meal replacements. In short, if the food product is made from a factory – avoid them.
What to Eat
To get the best results on Paleo diet, eat vegetables like broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and kale. It suggests fruits like apples, avocados, bananas, pears, oranges, strawberries and blueberries, and the like. It promotes eating of meats like lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, and pork, and fish and sea foods including salmon, haddock, shrimp, shellfish, trout.
Choose healthy fats and oils like coconut oil, avocado oil, lard, olive oil and tallow. Eat tubers such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams and turnips, and eggs. Choose nuts and seeds including macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and the like. You may use salt and spices such as sea salt, garlic, turmeric, himalayan salt, rosemary, and the like.
For perks, you may indulgence in red wine because of its high level of antioxidants and dark chocolates with at least 70% or higher cocoa content. Dark chocolate is believed to be very nutritious and healthy.
And to quench your thirst, water is best. Coffee and tea are also recommended particularly green tea.
Click here for sample 14-Day Paleo Meal Plan.
Health experts agree that wellness begins with healthy diet and helps lower risks against hypertension and other diseases. DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet helps lower blood pressure and LDL also known as bad cholesterol.
DASH diet encourages balanced diet and portion control involving more vegetables and fruits, fish, poultry, whole grain foods, nuts, and fat-free or low-fat milk products. It recommends reducing foods with high level of saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, sweets and sugary beverages, salt, and red meats.
Some individual develop hypertension due to their family history while others get this problem due to poor diet, lack or absence of exercise, and some medical conditions. Some individuals take take medicine to lower their hypertension. But health experts acknowledge the big role of right diet and exercise to help lower hypertension problems.
DASH diet does not need those pre-packaged meals or special meal plans. It is based on basic foods you have in your kitchen. It involves eating about 2,000 calories per day that come from different foods.
Basic DASH diet recommends the following:
- Whole grains (6 to 8 servings a day).
- Vegetables (4 to 5 servings a day).
- Fruits (4 to 5 servings a day).
- Low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products (2 to 3 servings a day).
- Lean meat, poultry, and fish (6 or fewer servings a day).
- Nuts, seeds, and beans (4 to 5 servings a week).
- Healthy fats and oils (2 to 3 servings a day).
- Sweets, preferably low-fat or fat-free (5 or fewer a week).
- Sodium (no more than 2,300 mg a day).
If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to 2 drinks or less per day for men and 1 drink or less per day for women. To reduce your blood pressure even more, replace some DASH diet carbohydrates with low-fat protein and unsaturated fats.
For weight loss, reduce your daily calories to 1,600 per day.
Lower your sodium to no more than 1,500 mg per day if you are age 40 or older, are African American, or if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Following DASH diet gives many health benefits including reducing risks against cancers, stroke, diabetes, and even osteoporosis. Hypertension lowers down for about two weeks. However, you may need to continue to see your doctor and take your blood pressure medication – for severe conditions.
Tips when Taking DASH diet:
Begin with achievable health goals by listing down your food or what you eat to monitor them. Take note of the sodium content, if possible.
Learn to read and understand labels. When you know the serving sizes, you will be able to know the amount of sodium you are taking for every meal. Use spices and herbs to flavor your meals rather than using salt. Choose lesser of processed foods including frozen meals, canned soups, and packaged mixes. Watch out for labels that have “no salt added,” “low sodium,” or “sodium-free.” Avoid fried foods, but you may grill, poach, steam, or roast.
When you are eating in your favorite resto, avoid ordering dishes with pickles, sauces, ketchup, or mustard. Reduce also your alcohol intake when you are using DASH diet.
And of course, exercise! Right diet and exercise means health and wellness!
Click here for sample recipe.
Flexitarian diet, also known as semi-vegetarian diet, is designed for weight loss and and health purposes. The diet consists 15% less meat. Studies show that it may help lower risks of heart problems, diabetes, and cancer. The diet fuses two magical words on foods: flexibility and vegetarian. This means that you may use vegetables and enjoy meats on this diet.
What to Eat
Flexitarian diet encourage to eat more of vegetables and adding 5 food groups to your meals. It involves getting more plant proteins than animal proteins.
You can take cereal-topped with soy milk, berries and nuts for your breakfast; black bean soup with salad and whole-grain roll for your lunch, and then barbeque burger with sweet potato fries for you dinner.
Good news is that you can follow your regimen at your pace and try more recipes and at the same time following the meal plan for three to five weeks. The diet also includes meal plan known as “Flex Swap” where your can use ingredient substitutions like adding chicken, fish, red meat or turkey to your vegetarian meal.
Flexitarian diet with proper exercise is strongly recommended to get the best results. Basically, at least 30-minute moderate exercises for five days, or intense 20-minute exercise for three time for every week will do.
Click here for sample recipe.