Tag Archives: mediterranean

5 Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s

The following post is information from Stacy’s blog at Stacia222.wordpress.com.  Great information! Read below and check out her “150 of the Healthiest Foods Challenge” blog here. From Stacy:

image found on Stacy's blog

“Over five million people have Alzheimer’s disease and it affects over 10 million women as the primary caregivers, advocates and caregivers. Alzheimer’s is currently the 7th leading cause of death and mortality rates will continue to rise as the baby boomer generation ages.  Alzheimer’s is particularly challenging because it is a progressive disease, in which the symptoms gradually worsen over time and there is currently no cure. Research has come to light in recently that show treatments that can temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms and improve the quality of life for both those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

“Unfortunately there is not a clear-cut prevention strategy for Alzheimer’s, but recent studies do show certain foods, diet and lifestyle that can be therapeutic for treating Alzheimer’s and contribute to prevention. Here are the top five things you can do to help prevent and even treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s:

1.       Eat a Mediterranean diet

“Researchers found that people who regularly consumed a Mediterranean diet were 38 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. A Mediterranean diet is rich in nuts, healthy fats (from salad dressings, avocados), tomatoes, fish, cruciferous vegetables, dark and leafy vegetables and fruits. A Mediterranean diet is also known for being low in red meat, organ meat, butter and high-fat dairy.

2.       Quit smoking

“A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that smoking is directly linked to dramatic increase in dementia in later years. The study found that those who reported smoking two packs of cigarettes a day had a 100% greater risk of dementia diagnosis than non-smokers.

3.  Eat celery and green pepper

“Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign looked at the effects of luteolin on the brains of mice, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Luteolin, which is found in celery and green pepper, was found to reduce brain inflammation caused by Alzheimer’s and can ease symptoms of memory loss.

4.       Drink coffee

“The European Journal of Neurology found that those with an increased caffeine intake had a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who with little or no intake of caffeine. Another study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that caffeine significantly decreased abnormal levels of protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease and 50 percent reduction in levels of beta amyloid, a substance forming sticky clumps of plaques in the brain of those with Alzheimer’s. This means that not only have these studies found that caffeine can be a critical in preventing Alzheimer’s, but it can actually be a therapeutic treatment for those already diagnosed with the disease. This is a huge development! This is also a great excuse to continue your daily latte habit.

5.       Exercise

“Several studies have shown the benefits of exercise in persons with Alzheimer’s. The Journal of the American Medical Associatepublished a study that found that exercise training for patients with Alzheimer disease not only improved physical conditioning and extended their independent mobility, but it also helped improve depression. Independent mobility is important as we age, especially for those with Alzheimer’s, because one symptom of Alzheimer’s that is often not discussed is the lack of balance, falls and tripping. This leads to injury and the need for constant supervision in Alzheimer’s patients. By incorporating 60 minutes of exercise on most days of the week, and “active” days of rest, one can greatly improve their mobility as they age.

“While there is not a “cure” for Alzheimer’s today, that does not stop researcher’s from working hard to find new ways to prevent, treat and cure the disease. I am passionate about contributing to finding a solution to this rapidly growing diagnosis. I am walking in the Memory Walk in Charlotte, NC on Saturday, November 13 to help raise money to fight against this devastating disease. Visit Memory Walk 2010 to find a Memory Walk in your area. You can also find out more information about Alzheimer’s disease and prevention at Alzheimer’s Association.”

The Pita House

I had to swing by one of my favorite restaurants/grocers tonight to pick up some items, so I thought I’d write up a little review. The Pita House is located at the intersection of Pleasantburg and Faris Drives in Greenville, SC (495 S. Pleasantburg Drive, 864.271.9895). It’s a Middle Eastern Food & Grocery that serves “Fresh Homemade Pita Bread Made Daily” and prides itself in being “A House of Nutritional Healthy Food.”

The menu items range from a side of fresh pita bread for 50 cents to lamb kebabs for $11.50. Most of their menu items are $6.25 or less. And they have a vast selection of homemade pastries available! All their plates are served with Tahini Salad, slices of tomato, pickles, olives and fresh pita bread. All dinner specials are served from 5-9PM and include rice pilaf, a dinner salad, and fresh pita bread. There are plenty of vegetarian items available too. One of my favorites is the Falafel (think hummus + flour + fried); you get 4 fried balls of deliciousness for only $1.79. That’s what I had for dinner tonight! Mmm!

If you’re not into a cultural experience, you can get a pita sandwich with more American taste filled with either roast beef, chicken salad, ham and cheese, or turkey (each served with tomato, lettuce, pickle spear and bag of chips).

The right half of the building is their grocery store. They have a large number of housemade products, including a variety of pita breads, hummus, feta and other cheeses, kefir, etc. They also sell a large number of 100% natural products: tahini (which is 1/2 the price of tahini at Publix), fresh apricot and fig jams, grape leaves, olives, and so on. Everything is very reasonably priced. They have a small freezer section and refrigerator section, several aisles of non-perishable items (canned goods, dried fruit, spices, candies, etc.), and a small housewares section (teapots, kitchen gadgets, trinkets, etc.). I enjoy browsing the store while I wait on my food order.

Dine in or carry out is available. Just remember your cash! Cash and checks only, folks. No debit or credit cards accepted. The Grocery & Deli is open from 8AM to 9PM Monday through Saturday. The Restaurant is open from 11AM to 9PM Monday through Saturday. Check it out!

Mediterranean Dinner Group

This is a meal from a dinner group we did a while back. I found it in my notes and thought I’d share. Maybe I’ll even try recreating it this weekend. All ingredients are estimates, of course, because cooking is an art (baking is the science). 

We started with an Antipasto Tray: cubes of mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheeses, garlic stuffed green olives, black olives, and kalamata olives, salami slices, baby carrots, and ranch and bleu cheese dressings.

Meanwhile, Heather brought a salad that was mixed greens, tomatoes, cheese, and croutons.

And Erin brought French bread with this amazing Parmesan dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce (sorry, I don’t have amounts, just ingredients):
Mix dry ingredients first:
Minced garlic cloves
Salt & pepper
Parmesan Cheese
Italian seasoning
Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I think equal parts).
Then give each couple a bowl of the oil mixture. Spoon in as much or as little of the dry cheese mixture as desired, and dip slices of French bread into it.

Mediterranean Pork Tenderloin:
Marinated 3# pork tenderloin in the following combination:
1 small bottle of white wine (Chardonnay, about 1 c.)
1/2 jar of pitted Kalamata olives (with juice)
1/4 c. worchestershire
1 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. each of salt, pepper, thyme
1/4 tsp. celery seed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 small red onion, finely sliced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced

The longer you can marinate, the better. I let it set for about 6 hours.

Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes, until no pink remains but still moist.

Serve with Mediterranean mushrooms over rice.

Mediterranean Mushrooms:
Saute 8 oz. mushrooms in 2 Tbsp. butter. 
Add garlic salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and paprika to taste.

We concluded the evening with apple pie and coffee, accompanied with a healthy dose of laughter in finding out that we are all very much alike. Go Northern girls marrying Southern guys! 🙂

Mediterranean Food Pyramid (Feb. 17, 2010)

I get regular emails about Nutrition from Nutrition.Guide@About.com. One of the emails today was in regards to the Mediterranean Diet, and by “diet” I mean a food lifestyle, not some crash course.

It gave me a link to this website, which provides information on how people in the Mediterranean region eat. Below is a picture of the Mediterrean Food Pyramid. It’s rich in vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, and leans on seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products for its protein. Notice that its primarily whole fruits and vegetables and not juices. Also, notice that you don’t see sodas or other calorie dense beverages; you’re limited to water and a little wine (check with your doctor first on this one; wine is optional).
Finally, notice that the base is a physically active lifestyle! So, get active and enjoy healthful food choices!

Feb. 17, 2010: Blankenship said…”Also, the countries around the Med have their biggest meal of the day around 2pm instead of late in the evening when the calories just stick to your body. =) And they eat 5 times a day, don’t eat out as much as Americans do and the portions are a lot smaller!” (She grew up in Spain.)