What is Atlantic Diet, cousin of Mediterranean diet that can boost longevity? | Health - Hindustan Times
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What is Atlantic Diet, cousin of Mediterranean diet, that can help you live longer?

By, New Delhi
Feb 20, 2024 10:25 AM IST

Atlantic diet can help you live longer by improving heart health and reducing risk of dying early from cancer and other such chronic disorders.

The Atlantic Diet, a close relative of the Mediterranean diet, is rapidly gaining popularity for its heart-friendly benefits and its potential to reduce the risk of metabolic diseases. The traditional diet of northern Portugal and northwestern Spain, known as the Southern European Traditional Atlantic Diet, or Atlantic diet, can help you live longer by reducing risk of dying early from cancer and other such chronic disorders. As per a latest study published in the journal JAMA Network Open, the diet can modestly reduce the incidence of metabolic syndrome - a combination of higher blood pressure, blood sugars, triglycerides and belly fat that raises the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke among other health conditions. While Mediterranean diet is mainly plant-based, Atlantic diet includes fresh fish like cod, dairy, legumes, fresh vegetables, potatoes, some red meat, pork products, whole wheat bread and moderate wine consumption. The focus is also on mindfully eating your food, socialising with your family while eating, walking daily apart from other dietary components.

 The traditional diet of northern Portugal and northwestern Spain, known as the Southern European Traditional Atlantic Diet, or Atlantic diet, can help you live longer by reducing risk of dying early from cancer and other such chronic disorders(Freepik)
The traditional diet of northern Portugal and northwestern Spain, known as the Southern European Traditional Atlantic Diet, or Atlantic diet, can help you live longer by reducing risk of dying early from cancer and other such chronic disorders(Freepik)

What is The Atlantic Diet

"The Atlantic Diet, also referred to as the Southern European Atlantic Diet, is a traditional dietary pattern prevalent in the regions of northern Portugal and northwestern Spain. This diet is often compared to the Mediterranean Diet but holds unique characteristics derived from the culinary customs of these areas," says Dr. Rohini Patil, MBBS & Nutritionist Founder Of Nutracy Lifestyle.

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Composition of The Atlantic Diet

At its core, the Atlantic Diet emphasizes the consumption of seasonal, locally sourced, fresh, and minimally processed foods. This includes a diverse array of ingredients such as vegetables, fruits, cereals, whole grains, and whole-grain bread. Potatoes, nuts (especially chestnuts), and legumes are staples, alongside a significant inclusion of fish and seafood, reflecting the coastal nature of the region, says Dr Patil. (Also read | What is mediterranean diet; top benefits from weight loss to heart attack prevention)

Dairy products, predominantly milk and cheese, are also integral to the diet, along with meats such as beef, pork, poultry, and wild game.

"The use of heart-healthy olive oil and the occasional indulgence in wine are further hallmarks of this dietary pattern. Food preparation methods are centred around simplicity, with techniques like boiling, grilling, baking, and stewing being commonly employed. Stewing, in particular, is highly regarded within the Atlantic Diet for its ability to preserve nutrients and flavours while minimizing the formation of harmful compounds associated with cardiovascular diseases," says Dr Patil.

Benefits of Atlantic Diet

The Atlantic Diet is celebrated not only for its culinary richness but also for its numerous health benefits, says Dr Patil.

Promotes heart health

Firstly, it promotes heart health by prioritizing nutrient-dense foods and healthy fats. Olive oil, a cornerstone of the diet, is rich in monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Reduced risk of diabetes and cancer

Additionally, the abundance of fish and seafood provides essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and cardiovascular benefits. The Atlantic Diet is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Weight management

Its emphasis on whole grains, legumes, and vegetables helps stabilize blood sugar levels and promote weight management, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the diet's high intake of fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, may help protect against cancer by neutralizing free radicals and reducing inflammation.

Brain health

Research suggests that the consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, may help maintain brain health and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

Overall, the Atlantic Diet offers a holistic approach to eating, combining culinary enjoyment with numerous health benefits.

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