The Mediterranean diet has received huge attention over recent years due to its fantastic health properties, particularly in the reduction of Cardiovascular diseases.
Due to the quality healthy fats, and high nitrate content, it makes for a fantastic approach for anyone regularly participating in intense exercise (That’s you! 😛 )
Dietary strategies have previously been adopted to reduce Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) risk factors. The Mediterranean diet has received much attention in the reduction and reversal of age related CVD risk factors.
Rich in mono-unsaturated fat, fruit, vegetables, fish, whole grains and low red meat and dairy products, it has been successful in reducing cell damage and endothelial dysfunction (Problems with the lining of your blood vessels!) in various populations.
Regular virgin olive oil and nut consumption has also been linked with a reduction in hs-CRP, IL-6 and e-selectin molecules, all of which contribute towards a lower risk of CVD.
Dietary nitrates have also shown to help regulate CVD risk factors by lowering blood pressure, facilitating endothelial function, and regulating platelet function (An incredibly important part of our blood!).
Exercise performance has also increased in populations with peripheral arterial disease after ingesting a 500 ml concentrated beetroot supplement pre-exercise, allowing athletes (Particularly Cyclists) to perform at higher levels of intensity for longer.
Nitrates have also been linked to improved recovery after intense exercise, and also had a great positive impact on endurance performance, such as marathon runners!
SO!! Today we have a summary of a few key areas to healthy fats and nitrates which form large components of the Mediterranean diet.
You don’t have to completely change your diet, but regularly swapping out a handful of your normal intakes, for higher healthy fat and nitrate contents like some of the foods described above can make a huge positive impact on your health and performance!