Ever Heard of the Portfolio Diet?

Although not as well-known as other diets, the Portfolio Diet is a plant-based nutrition plan that has been known and researched for over 20 years.  Please do NOT let the word diet lead you to think ‘weight loss.’ Like the more famous ‘diets’ the Mediterranean Diet and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), Portfolio is a Dietary PLAN. It provides healthy eating recommendations and is not a “weight loss diet”. We will use Portfolio Plan to reflect this more accurate understanding and reduce any confusion.

The Portfolio Plan has many aspects in common with the DASH and the Mediterranean eating plans that are more popular at least here in the US and are also well known for their health benefits.  The Portfolio Plan was developed by researchers at the University of Toronto and its health benefits are also well known. Its impact on lowering LDL – bad cholesterol –even more than lower-strength statin medications – was confirmed 20+ years ago. 

A recent study published in the November issue of Circulation found that the Portfolio Plan not only significantly lowers LDL cholesterol, but indications note the Plan also results in major long-term benefits: a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. 

This recent study followed over 200,000 nurses and other health professionals for 30 years. Those who had eating habits most in line with the Portfolio Plan were significantly less likely to suffer a stroke or develop coronary heart disease, versus their peers with the least Portfolio-like eating habits.

All three plans mentioned in this blog, encourage individuals to eat more fruits and vegetables, more fiber-rich grains, and more heart-healthy unsaturated fats. But the Portfolio Plan places more emphasis on replacing meat and other animal products with protein and fat from plant sources. One does not need to become completely vegetarian, but reducing animal protein is stressed. 

The main recommended plant-based protein sources include soy/tofu, lentils, and legumes (beans), nuts and seeds. Healthy plant fat sources include avocados, and unsaturated plant oils like olive, canola, and soybean. The Plan also recommends plenty of soluble fiber from foods such as oats, barley, berries, apples, and citrus fruits, as well as other foods or supplements containing phytosterols—plant chemicals that help lower cholesterol including LDL.

Please contact us if you would like more information on the Portfolio or DASH Plans.  We like and promote both nutritional plans and are happy to send a summary. We are also available to discuss options for incorporating healthy options for your employee breakrooms and cafeteria; for work lunch meetings, and wellness programs.

Image Courtesy of Dan Gold Unsplash

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