Posted by: Stephanie Faris
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An increasing number of consumers have been turning to the Mediterranean diet. The nutritious diet focuses heavily on plant-based foods and whole grains, which can be good for the heart and mind, as well as helping with energy levels. But a new study may give athletes a reason to pursue the lifestyle.
Noting that the Mediterranean diet is chock full of foods that have antioxidants and nitrates, a team of researchers in St. Louis wondered if perhaps the diet could be better for endurance and performance in physical activities like exercise. To find the answer, they had recreationally active adults follow the Mediterranean diet for four days, then run 3 miles on a treadmill. Between 9 and 16 days later, the participants followed a Western diet for four days and ran the same distance on a treadmill. The team then checked the results.
The study found that the participants, which consisted of seven women and four men, showed noticeable differences between the two activities. After following the Mediterranean diet, the team was 6 percent faster than they were after following the Western diet, which is heavy in fats and sugary foods. Interestingly, although they were faster, their fatigue levels and heart rates were similar in both instances.