Are you ready to switch to a healthier diet for the heart? Here's how to start with a Mediterranean diet that you need to know. If you are looking for a heart-healthy meal plan, this diet might be for you. This diet combines the basics of healthy eating with traditional flavors and Mediterranean cooking methods.
Why is the Mediterranean diet Recommended for Heart Health?
This diet began in the 1960s with the observation that coronary heart disease caused fewer deaths in Mediterranean countries, such as Greece and Italy, than in the US and northern Europe. Subsequent studies found that this diet was associated with reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This diet is one of the healthy eating plans recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to improve health and prevent chronic diseases.
It is also recognized by the World Health Organization as a healthy and sustainable diet and as an intangible cultural asset United National Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
This diet is a way of eating based on traditional cuisine from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Although there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet, this diet is usually rich in vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, nuts and seeds, and olive oil.
The main components of this diet include: Daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats. Intake of fish, poultry, beans, and eggs every week. The moderate portion of milk products must also be considered. Do not forget the limited intake of red meat. Another important element of the Mediterranean diet is sharing food with family and friends and being physically active.
Mediterranean diet which is plant based, not meat based
The basis of the Mediterranean diet are vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans and seeds. Food is made around these plant foods. The amount of milk, poultry, and eggs in moderation is also important, as is seafood. In contrast, red meat is only eaten occasionally.
Healthy fats are the mainstay of this type of diet. What is eaten is not healthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats, which contribute to heart disease. Olive oil is the main source of additional fat in Mediterranean food. Olive oil provides monounsaturated fat, which has been found to reduce total cholesterol and lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds also contain monounsaturated fats.
Fish is also important, such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon and trout. This fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that can reduce inflammation in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids also help reduce triglycerides, reduce blood clots, and reduce the risk of stroke and heart failure.
Interested in trying the Mediterranean diet? These tips will help you get started:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Try to 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. One of the good vegetables consumed is microgreens.
- Choose whole grains. Switch to whole wheat bread, cereals, and pasta.
- Use healthy fats. Try olive oil instead of butter when cooking.
- Eat more seafood. Eat fish twice a week. Fresh tuna or fresh water, salmon, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Avoid fried fish.
- Reduce red meat. Replace with fish, poultry or beans. If you eat meat, make sure the meat is lean and keep small portions.
- Eat Greek yogurt or low-fat yogurt and a small amount of cheese.
- Season food with herbs and spices. This can increase the taste and reduce the need for salt.
This Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to eat. Many people who switch to this style of eating say they will never eat any other way.