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Mediterranean Diet reduces Diabetes Risk

What is the Mediterranean diet? Well, it is one typically rich in pasta, bread, fruit, and vegetables, (high in fiber and low in trans fats) with moderate amounts of poultry and fish, using liberal amounts of virgin olive oil and a moderate amount of alcohol (specifically red wine). The Mediterranean diet is reputed to be among the healthiest in the world. Multiple research studies have shown that Mediterraneans suffer less heart disease than people from northern Europe.

Nutrition experts believe that the typical Mediterranean diet reduces ‘bad’ or saturated fat and increasing the level of natural antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, significantly reducing the risk of heart attack. A landmark research study (prospective, cohort) showed a startlingly positive, strong correlation between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and a decreased risk of developing diabetes.

Mediterranean diet: research

This study involved over 13,000 graduates from the University of Navarra, Spain (with no history of diabetes), whose dietary habits and health were tracked over 8 years. Initially, participants completed a food frequency questionnaire designed to measure the entire diet, including questions on the use of fats and oils, cooking methods and dietary supplements.

Every two years participants were sent follow-up questionnaires on diet, lifestyle, risk factors, and medical conditions. During the follow-up period the researchers from the University of Navarra found that participants who stuck closely to the diet had a lower risk of diabetes. A high adherence to the diet was associated with an 83% relative reduction in the risk of developing diabetes.

Adherence measures how closely the participant followed the Mediterranean diet guidelines using a numerical scale. On a ten-point scale (0-2 for low, 3-6 for medium and 7-9 for high Mediterranean diet adherence) researchers discovered that each 2 point increase on the adherence scale had a corresponding 35% reduction in diabetes risk! Benefits from consuming a diet rich in plant foods (including fat) and low in processed foods? Who would’ve thought?

Push-ups workout for your best upper body

You might be surprised to learn just how effective body-weight exercises can be for muscle endurance and toning. Push-ups are in the ‘push and pull’ force category. Push-ups are excellent overall upper body toners, that require no external resistance. Body-weight exercises, such as push-ups are ‘functional’ exercises, or those that train your body to handle real-life situations.

Push-ups Muscular Emphasis

There are dozens of variations to the traditional wide-grip push-up. These push-up variations emphasize different muscle groups (target, synergists and stabilizer muscles); from your chest to your back to your shoulders to your upper arms. You can even do push-up drills (walk out push-up to a plyometric jump) which elevate your heart-rate and engage lower body muscles to burn more calories.

Push-ups: military-style

Modify push-ups to make them more appropriate for a beginner (on your knees) or an advanced exercisers (push-ups on toes, decline push-ups). The push-up we are all familiar with is the military-style, wide-grip push-up (on toes or on knees).

Diamond or close-grip push-ups

The ‘diamond’ or ‘close-grip’ push-up targets the triceps muscles more than any other push-up variation. For this push-up, instead of placing your hands shoulder or chest-width apart, place them together below your sternum, forming the shape of a diamond or triangle (hands may be touching at the index fingers and thumbs or slightly farther apart). As you push-down, toward the floor, your elbows should splay outward, slightly toward your lower body. Push-up to return to the beginning position, repeat. This one is tough, start on your knees and advance to your toes.

Stability ball push-ups

Adding a new dimension to a traditional push-up, such as controlled instability, offers multiple benefits. Performing push-ups on a stability ball (under your shins for a decline push-up or under your upper body in place of the ‘floor’ for an incline push-up) recruits additional muscle fibers, particularly core and stabilizer muscles, throughout the movement. Adding balance to this functional exercise also increases muscle fiber activation because you have to control the movement without the help of an exercise machine. Some experts consider the push-up to be more effective for muscular development than the chest press.