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The new ‘cousin’ to the Mediterranean diet with major health benefits

Including how you can incorporate this way of eating into your daily regime.

An emerging diet, dubbed as the ‘Atlantic diet’, is being hailed as a new alternative to the traditional Mediterranean diet.

A recent study found that those who adhere to the diet had significantly reduced blood pressure, blood sugars, triglycerides – all of which can contribute to chronic health issues.

Like the Mediterranean diet, the Atlantic diet also hails from Europe. It also focuses on eating fruit, vegetables, fish and seafood as well as olive oil. 

Here’s everything to know about the Atlantic diet.

What is the Atlantic diet?

The Atlantic diet is based on the foods and eating behaviours of people in the northwest of Spain and Portugal. The diet has a heavy emphasis on fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood but also encourages pork, red meat, dairy and legumes.

Like its distant cousin, the Mediterranean diet, the Atlantic iteration has a particular emphasis on home-cooked, locally sourced and minimally seasoned dishes.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a regimen of eating that is based on the diets of those who live around the Mediterranean. This way of eating has long been heralded as a way to reduce risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Much like the Atlantic regimen, the Mediterranean diet also heavily revolves around fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and legumes. 

How do the two diets differ?

Whilst the Mediterranean and the Atlantic eating regimens have a lot of similarities, there are also a few differences. Namely the Mediterranean diet typically calls for pasta, barley and quinoa, whereas the Atlantic diet instead prioritises starches like chestnuts, potatoes and bread.

Despite these differences, overall, both diets focus on minimally processed foods and fresh produce.

What have studies said about the Atlantic diet?

A number of studies over the last few years have begun assessing the health benefits of the Atlantic diet. Most recently, a study published in the journal JAMA Network Open found that the diet has a range of health benefits. 

Mainly, the study identified that participants who adhered to the eating regimen were about 42 per cent less likely to develop coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other serious health issues compared to those who ate a regular diet.

Previous studies conducted at the end of 2021 and 2023 also found similar results from participants eating the diet. It is thought that the combination of seafood, vegetables and legumes are associated with lower levels of C-reactive protein, which is a sign of inflammation in the body.

How can I incorporate the Atlantic diet into my day?

If you’re not ready to commit to an entirely new way of eating, don’t fret. There are some simple swaps and changes you can make to start incorporating this diet into your everyday life.

  • Use extra virgin olive oil where possible: Extra virgin olive oil is high in mono-saturated fats and also makes up the majority of your fats consumption in the diet. You can incorporate extra virgin olive oil into your cooking, salads and even replace it with butter for your bread.
  • Boost your legumes: Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, beans, and peas should also feature heavily in your meals.
  • Change up your meat to vegetables ratio: Both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean diet focus heavily on making vegetables the centrepiece of your dish. Meanwhile, meats should make up a significantly smaller portion on your plate.

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