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Explore the 5 food groups and discover how to incorporate these into your UCLP foundation diet.
The UCLP© is not a low fat diet. It means replacing saturated fats with heart healthy unsaturated fats.
People living in countries bordering the Mediterranean and who eat the traditional diet of this region appear to have less heart disease than those of us that live in the UK and northern Europe.
Health professionals now advise the traditional Mediterranean way of eating as a good approach to helping improve health and longevity.
What foods make up the Mediterranean diet?
Traditionally people in the Mediterranean eat:
more fruit and vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts, pulses (peas, beans and lentils) seeds and fish - these food are sometimes called Super Foods
less saturated fat from dairy and red meat sources
moderate alcohol consumption
are exposed to higher levels of sunshine and eat more oily fish resulting in healthy levels of vitamin D
How does this affect nutrient intakes?
The Mediterranean diet is:
Not a low fat diet, but much less of the fat comes from saturated sources like butter, fatty meats, pastry or dairy fat
rich in monounsaturated fats which are heart healthy (olive oil and nuts)
a good source of omega 3 fatty acids (seafood, especially oily fish)
rich in potassium (wholegrain cereals, fruit, vegetables and nuts)
rich in fibre including soluble fibre (wholegrain cereals, vegetables, fruit, beans, peas)
rich in antioxidants including vitamins E and C, carotenoids and flavonoids
rich in B vitamins including folic acid
Tips to help you adopt a Mediterranean lifestyle
Fruit and vegetables – fresh, frozen, canned or dried. Aim for at least 5 servings every day, more if you can and include a wide variety. These foods are rich in essential nutrients, they are also low in calories
Starchy carbohydrate foods – base meals on foods such as bread, noodles, chapatti, rice, pasta and yams. Wholegrain varieties are generally higher in fibre, so good for digestive health too
Fish. White fish is low in fat and calories, so helpful when managing weight, and oily fish, although higher in fat, contains essential omega-3 fats and vitamin D.
Nuts and nut butters – unsalted varieties. Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats. As a guide try to eat about 30-35g (a handful) each day
Use oils rich in monounsaturated fats, such as olive and rapeseed (canola) oils, and spreading fats made from these.
Try to get out in the sunshine for at least 30 minutes during the spring, summer and early autumn. Its best to apply sun tan lotion if you expose your skin to strong sunlight for longer or if you are very fair skinned
If over 65, housebound or if you have little exposure to sun then it is recommended that you supplement with vitamin D. 5mcg per day is the Reference Intake for vitamin D.
|Less heart-unhealthy foods||More heart-healthy foods|
|less lard||more olive, rapeseed and sunflower oils|
|less butter, margarine||
more olive and sunflower oil spreads
|less white bread, pasta, rice||
more wholegrain bread, brown pasta, brown rice
|fewer processed breakfast cereals like cornflakes, krispies, "sugar coated" or "chocolate" cereals||
more porridge, oat-based cereals, wheat biscuits, muesli
|less sweet biscuits, cakes||
more oatcakes, digestives
|less milk or white chocolate, crisps||
more unsalted nuts, dried and fresh fruit
more lentils, beans and peas
more meals made from basic fresh ingredients
|less sausages, burgers, fatty meat||
more lean meat, seafood including oily fish
|less high-fat cheese, cream and milk||
more reduced-fat dairy foods, soya products
If you need help to lower your cholesterol level why not check out our Ultimate Cholesterol Lowering Plan©