What To Eat For Health doesn’t have to be overly complicated. While some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important.
The cornerstone of a healthy diet pattern should be to replace unhealthy processed or refined foods, confirmed in a 2018 BMJ reviewed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) study; or precooked foods, confirmed in a 2015 British Journal of Nutrition (NIH) study; high-sugar, per a 2016 Nutrients (NIH) study.
You should also avoid processed meats, per a 2018 BMJ (NIH) study; or high-sodium foods, found a 2016 Jounal of the American College of Cardiology (NIH) study; and fried and fast-foods, per a 2016 Health Promotion Perspectives (NIH) study, with real, fresh, wholesome food whenever possible.
Eating food that is close as possible to the way nature made it, or organically grown, can make a huge difference in the way you think, look, and feel, according to a 2020 Mayo Clinic “Organic Foods: Are They Safer? More Nutritious?” study. And, don’t forget, and we can’t stress this enough, as much as humanly possible, buy and eat fresh foods.
According to research, foods can loose from 15 percent to over 60 percent of its nutritional value after harvest even if it’s refrigerated, found a University of Akron study. Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of foods you love.
Rather, healthy eating is about enjoying your food, feeling great, having more energy, keeping you fit and trim, improving your health and well being, and boosting your mood found a NIH “Keep Active and Eat Healthy to Improve Well-being and Feel Great” study. If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another person saying exactly the opposite.
What if we told you there is a diet, actually a lifestyle that’s been around for centuries, that can satisfy all of the above mentioned desirable benefits of enjoying your food, feeling great, having more energy, keeping you fit and trim, improving your health and well being, and enhancing your mood, would you be interested in knowing about it?
We knew you would be, it’s called the “Mediterranean Diet”. The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
While there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet, according to the NIH reviewed 2019 International Journal of Research and Public Health study, it is typically high in fresh organic vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans (legumes), raw nuts, edible seeds, ocean fish, lean meats, fermented foods, and low-fat dairy and cheeses. To enhance the taste of the foods, the diet uses herbs and spices, eggs, moderate amount of red wine, and lots of extra virgin olive oil.
Other important elements of the Mediterranean diet are sharing longer meals with family and friends, enjoying a glass of red wine, eating moderate amounts of lean red meat or poultry, post-meal siestas or naps, which research like a 2007 Harvard Gazette “Sleeping Your Way To Heart Health” research showed is very important, then being physically active, and because this diet is more plant-based, not meat-based, according to a 2019 Mayo Clinic “Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan” study.
Healthy fats, or monounsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, along with nuts and seeds, are a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet and very healthy, according to the 2015 American Heart Association “Monounsaturated Fats” study. Monounsaturated fat has been found to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (bad Cholesterol) cholesterol levels. Fresh wild-caught fish and shellfish are also important in the Mediterranean diet.
Fatty fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon and lake trout, shrimp, oysters, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, not only in high protein but also a type of omega 3 polyunsaturated fat that reduces inflammation in the body, according to a 2012 Advanced Nutrition (NIH) study. This also is true for lean grass-fed red meats. Omega-3 fatty acids also help decrease triglycerides, reduce blood clotting, and decrease the risk of stroke and heart failure, found a 2010 BMC Nutrition Journal (NIH) study.
Eating a variety of whole grains and unrefined carbohydrates (high fiber) are excellent for good health, per a 2017 Elsevier Journal of Chiropractic Medicine (NIH) study. Fermented foods such cultured olives, natural yogurt, fermented red wine are excellent for gut health, aiding in replenishing “good bacteria” or the microbiome in the human digestive system, according to a 2019 Critical Review of Food Science and Nutrition (NIH) study.
The NIH reviewed 2019 Journal of AOAC International study has also confirmed the health benefits of spices and herbs finding they possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumorigenic, anticarcinogenic properties, besides the fact they add so much flavor and zest to foods.
Drinking moderate amounts of fermented red wine has been found to have a wide variety of health benefits, covered in this 2019 Molecules (NIH) study. There are numerous controlled studies confirming the health and wellness benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
One almost 5-year 2013 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on 7447 individuals at a high cardiovascular risk were randomized to a Mediterranean diet with added olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with added nuts, or a low-fat control group. The results of the study showed the risk of combined heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular disease was reduced by 30 percent in the Medi plus olive oil group, and 28 percent in the Medi plus Nuts group.
In 2008 a study published in JAMA internal Medicine journal of 1224 individuals was analyzed after 1 year, examining whether the diet helped individuals reverse the metabolic syndrome. The results found that prevalence of metabolic syndrome decreased by 6.7 percent in the Medi plus olive oil group and 13.7 percent in the Medi plus nuts group. The results were statistically significant only for the Medi plus nuts group.
A 2011 Diabetics Care (NIH) study 418 non-diabetic participants and were assessed after 4 years, looking at their risk of having developed type 2 diabetes. 10 or 11 percent of the individuals in the Mediterranean diet groups became diabetic, compared to 17.9 percent in the low-fat control group.
Using the Mediterranean diet without calorie restriction appears to be effective in preventing the development of type 2 diabetes.
Another 2006 study published in the Annals of Internal medicine reviewed by the NIH, 772 participants were analyzed with regards to cardiovascular risk factors, after a study period of 3 months, and it was found the Mediterranean diet caused improvements in various cardiovascular risk factors, including blood sugar levels, blood pressure, Total HDL and Cholesterol Ratio, and C-Reactive Protein (CRP).
A much earlier 1999 study published in Circulation (NIH), enrolled 605 middle-aged men and women who had suffered a heart attack. The men and women were placed into two groups, a Mediterranean-type diet and a “prudent” Western-type diet, and followed for 4 years.
After 4 years, the group eating the Mediterranean diet was 72 percent less likely to have a heart attack, or died from heart disease. Here is one more study so you’ll see you can also lose weight with the Medi diet. A 2008 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 322 obese individuals were randomly assigned to a calorie restricted low-fat diet, a calorie restricted Mediterranean diet, or an unrestricted low-carb diet. The results found the low-fat group lost 6.4 lbs., the low-carb group lost 10.3 lbs., and the Mediterranean diet group lost 9.7 lbs. Diabetic participants also had improved blood glucose and insulin levels on the Mediterranean diet, compared to the low-fat diet.
The U.S. News and World Report selected the Mediterranean diet as the “best” overall diet for 2019 after reviewing 41 popular diets using very strict guidelines. Actually the Medi diet ranked highest in several categories, as the best diet for: healthy eating, best plant-based diet, best diet for diabetes, and easiest diet to follow, and again, was chosen by the the U.S. News and World Report as the best overall diet in 2020.
The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a new Health Evidence Network Synthesis Report in 2018 exploring the implementation and effectiveness of policies based on the New Nordic and Mediterranean diets.
Their research has demonstrated the health-promoting properties of the Mediterranean and New Nordic diets, including protective effects against cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
By using the Mediterranean diet, or the nutrient-dense foods that make up the Medi diet, you can cut through all the confusion, and learn how to create and commit to a tasty, varied, and nutritious diet and lidestyle that’s good for your mind, as it is for your body. Let’s look at the bare basics.
What To Eat For Health (based on the Medi Diet)
- Fresh Lean organic Red Meats and Poultry, Eggs, and Dairy. Red meats such as beef, bison should be grass-fed finished and poultry such as chicken, duck, and turkey, lamb, and pork, should free-range finished. Eggs and dairy should be grass-fed finished (A). Use Sparingly.
- Fish and Seafood. Fish should be cold-water or wild-caught fish such as trout, tuna, salmon, halibut, mackerel and others, shellfish should be shrimp, oysters, lobster, and others. Use one time a day (A).
- Fresh Organic Fruits, Vegetables, Raw Nuts and Edible Flower Seeds. Use all non-GMO (non-genetically modified) types and varieties especially dark green leafy veggies, bright-colored fruits and veggies, berries, and citrus fruits. Use one to three times a day or as much as you can eat. Use nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies for snacking (A).
- Whole Grains, High Fiber, and Complex Carbohydrates. Should be certified organic and GMO-free, and gluten-free. Use a wide variety and at all meals (A).
- Organic Monounsaturated Plant oils. Use low-fat oils such as extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil. Use liberally in all cooking (A).
- Natural Organic Fermented Foods. Cultured foods such as natural yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso. Use at every meal or for snacks (A).
- Fresh Natural Organic Herbs and Spices. Use non-GMO herbs and spices such as cilantro, chives, oregano, basil, turmeric, cayenne, rosemary, and many others. Use sea salt sparingly (A).
- Antioxidant Drinks or Filtered Water. Fruit infused water, espresso, green tea, and fruit or veggie smoothies, (A).
- Alcohol. Beer and fermented red wine is better for you, but any type is OK as long as it is used in moderation.
- Supplement With Natural Nutritious Whole-Food Peruvian Maca. Should be certified organic Peruvian Maca. Use once or twice a day and also use it in prepared foods and drinks such as uncooked cakes, cookies, granola bars, and smoothies, (A).
If you have read any of my previous reviews on Peruvian Maca, you will already be aware of the incredible, wide-ranging healthy benefits Maca offers. If you haven’t previously read my reviews, take the opportunity now to read these two articles: and MACA POWDER HEALTH BENEFITS, and WHAT’S IN MACA ROOT?
Here is one quick NIH reviewed 2008 Menopause study on P Maca showing it reduced psychological symptoms in women, including anxiety and depression, and lowered measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women independent of estrogenic and androgenic activity.
Getting Creative and Having Fun With Maca
Traditionally in Peru, P Maca is cooked and eaten daily, and has been for thousands of years, baked or roasted, prepared as a soup, and used for making a fermented drink called “Maca Chicha” (1), by the indigenous people of Peru. The video doesn’t show adding P Maca, but you can easily add your P Maca powder to the mixture and make it the true Maca Chicha.
Unfortunately, because of Peruvian Government restrictions, the fresh whole Maca root is prohibited for export, because it is considered a “Heritage” national food plant crop. So, what’s available for us in America is fresh processed Maca, either in a traditionally sun-dried form, which is made into a powder, fresh chips (small pieces), or in a gelatinized form.
For us, preparing and cooking Maca in the traditional way is neither practical, or possible, because we are unable to get the fresh whole Maca root. But, we still can add it to a list of “What To Eat For Health”, because it has so many health benefits even in its processed form.
But, there are many fun and imaginative ways to use the other forms of Maca we are able to get, along with other healthy natural ingredients such fresh fruits and veggies, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, raw nuts and seeds, whole grains, and fresh natural honey or vanilla, in salads, cakes and cookies, granola bars, and in healthy drinks, as coffee, latttes, and smoothies. Yes, can you believe it, dark chocolate? Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and plant phenols from the cocoa bean, per the NIH reviewed 2017 Frontiers In Immunology study. Check out some of these fun recipes below:
Simple Fruity Maca Salad. (or use your own imagination)
- 2 tbsp Maca powder
- 1 banana
- 1 kiwi
- handful of blueberries, or other berries
- 1/2 mango
- vanilla ice cream or honey
Slice, mix, and enjoy.
Cashews Maca Butter
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup raw macadamia nuts
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1/2 tbsp Maca powder
Instructions: In a high speed blender, such as Vitamix, blend until creamy. Use tamper to assist with the blending. Does not need to be refrigerated.
Maca Energy Bars-Chocolate Chip Cookie
- 1 to 2 tbsp Maca powder
- 2 cups of crispy cashews (soaked and dried)
- 1 cup dates
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp water
Each recipe makes four bar. Add all ingredients to a food processor or a hi-speed blender such as vitamix, until finally chopped. Remove a piece and roll in the palm of your hands, if it sticks together, it’s ready to form into bars. If it’s to crumbly, it needs to blend more or add a little water until mixture sticks together. When mixture is ready, press it onto parchment paper and form into bars. Wrap each bar individually and freeze until you want one.
Maca Energy Bars-Apple Cinnamon
- 1 to 2 Maca powder
- 1/2 cup walnuts (soaked and dried)
- 1/2 cup almonds (soaked and dried)
- 1 cup of dates
- 1 cup dried apples
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- about 1 or tsp of water
Each recipe makes four bar. Add all ingredients to a food processor or a hi-speed blender such as vitamix, until finally chopped. Remove a piece and roll in the palm of your hands, if it sticks together, it’s ready to form into bars. If it’s to crumbly, it needs to blend more or add a little water until mixture sticks together.
When mixture is ready, press it onto parchment paper and form into bars. Wrap each bar individually and freeze until you want one.
Maca Energy Bars-Lemon Lime
- 1 to 2 tbsp of Maca powder
- 1 cup crispy cashews (soaked and dried)
- 1 cup of dates
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 3 tbsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp lime juice
Use same directions as above.
Maca Berry Bomb (raw, vegan, gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, refined sugar, free)
- 1 cup coconut
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup soaked dates
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
Ingredients (filling 1):
- 2 cups cashews (soaked and dried)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 cup blueberries and blackberries
- 1 tbsp acai powder
- 1/2 cup of rice malt syrup or Agave syrup
- 1 tbsp lemon juice and rind
- 1 tbsp asyllium husk
Ingredients (filling 2 Maca Vanilla)
- 1 cup soaked and dried cashews
- 1 cup coconut chips
- 1/2 cup of rice malt syrup or agave syrup
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp Maca powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp psyllium husk
- In a hi-speed blender, process coconut, sunflower seeds, vanilla, and salt until fine powder forms. Add coconut oil and process until oily and mixture begins to stick to the sides of the processor.
- Add strained dates and process further until mixture forms a ball.
- Place mixture into lined spring form pans. Press down to a flat base and place in freezer.
- In blender, blend all ingredients for filling 1, except phyllium husks and process until smooth and creamy (may have to add a little water)
- Add phyllium husks at very end and blend further. Pour this into cake pan and use a spatula to flatten layer. Place it in the freezer.
- For filling 2, in your blender, blend all ingredients except phyllium again. Blend until smooth. Add phyllium and pulse a few times. Pour this on top of first filling. Place back in freezer.
- Garnish as you like, maybe sprinkle blueberries on top and return to freezer for 5 hours or until firm. When set, clip off spring form sides and store in frig. Will last up to one week in frig, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Coconut Cashew Maca Granola-vegan gluten-free (preheat oven to 300 degrees F, line a medium-size baking sheet with parchment)
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 cup raw cashews, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup of unsweetened flaked coconut
- 3/4 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp solfened unrefined coconut oil
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp of Maca powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Spread the oats on the pan in a single layer edge to edge. Over preheated, place in oven for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring halfway through, until light golden in color, add the cashews and place back in oven for 5 minutes. Add the coconut, maple syrup, coconut oil, Maca and salt. Mix well until fully combined.
Spread in an even layer on pan and place back in oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the coconut flakes are golden brown. If you want clusters, don’t stir the granola. If you don’t want clusters, stir one or two times while baking.
Allow to fully cool in pan. Granola will firm and turn crunchy once cooled. Store a container in the frig for up to a month.
Raw Chocolate Chip Maca Blondies (prep time 15 minutes) Yields 14 bars.
- 1 1/4 cups raw cashews
- 1 1/4 cups raw almonds
- 1/4 cup Maca powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 15 large dates pitted
- 1 to 3 tsp water
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- In your vitamix, add nuts, and pulse a few times to break up.
- Add Maca, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt, pulse a couple more times to mix.
- While the processor’s running, add dates, one at a time until the mixture makes a dough.
- If the dough seems too dry, add water, 1 tbsp at a time, until firm but not sticky.
- Add a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and pulse to slightly mix in dough.
- In an 8 x 8 pan lined with parchment paper, scrape the dough in pan.
- Press the mixture evenly in the pan.
- Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top and press down with finger until they stick
- Place in frig for 30 minutes.
- Cut into squares.
- Store in air-tight container for up to 4 weeks.
There are all kinds of Maca smoothies out there……almond, Maca cinnamon smoothie, vegan chocolate banana smoothie, sunflower cinnamon smoothie, peanut butterscotch smoothie…..or let your own imagination create one……Here are a couple of my favorites:
Both Blueberries and Maca contain anti-oxidants that safeguard your body naturally from damaging free-radicals. Maca root, in addition, is full of vitamins, minerals, a nutritious-rich whole food, phytonutrients, and bio-active plant compounds, that assist your body in so many healthy ways. Now you know what to eat for health and how to maintain it. It’s nutrient density, has been credited to its extreme natural surroundings, growing at the top of the Peruvian Andes, where only a few plants can survive.
Blueberry Maca Smoothie
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 to 2 tbsp Maca powder
- 1 to 2 bananas
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 to 2 tsp cinnamon or more if you desire
- 1 to 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of ice, or more if desired
Combine all ingredients, except cinnamon and vanilla in blender to achieve a smooth consistency. Sprinkle in cinnamon and vanilla and blend again.
Green Maca Smoothie
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1 loose cup spinach
- 1 tbsp Maca powder
- 1 scoop of hydrolyzed collagen
- 1 to 2 tbsp of peanut butter
- 1 banana
Add all ingredients in the order listed. Blend until smooth, using “blending” function, or above one minute on high. So, do you have a “sweet-tooth” now? Are you ready to actually purchase some Maca and experiment with some of these recipes, or create your own?
You can purchase the true, certified organic, Peruvian Maca, in the reviews I listed above. Have fun! Now you have a pretty good idea of What To Eat For Health, are you going to make a Mediterranean-lifestyle change? Should you have questions, or comments, please list them below, and I’ll get back to you.
Get your FREE e book copy of THE SECRET SCIENCE OF STAYING SLIM, SANE, AND SEXY AFTER 40, and, also, your FREE 7-night trial sample of JULVA in the article WHAT IS IN MACA ROOT?
(A) Follow links for more in depth information, more documented studies, and to purchase any of these incredible nutrient-dense foods.
(1) Kevin Gianni Video