If you're looking for a heart-healthy diet, the Magna Wellness team recommends you take a look at the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating with lots of healthy fats including olive oil, fish, nuts and seeds (and perhaps even a glass of red wine). It’s simple and easy to follow, it helps to prevent many diseases and it’s a great plan the whole family can get onboard with.
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet:
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. The Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to eat. Many people who switch to this style of eating say they'll never eat any other way.
Key Components of the Mediterranean diet:
• Eat your veggies and fruits — and switch to whole grains. A variety of plant foods should make up the majority of your meals. They should be minimally processed — fresh and whole are best. Include veggies and fruits in every meal and eat them for snacks as well. Switch to whole-grain bread and cereal, and begin to eat more whole-grain rice and pasta products. Keep baby carrots, apples and bananas on hand for quick, satisfying snacks. Fruit salads are a wonderful way to eat a variety of healthy fruit.
• Go nuts. Nuts and seeds are good sources of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Keep almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts on hand for a quick snack. Choose natural peanut butter, rather than the kind with hydrogenated fat added. Try blended sesame seeds (tahini) as a dip or spread for bread.
• Pass on the butter. Try olive or canola oil as a healthy replacement for butter or margarine. Lightly drizzle it over salads. After cooking veggies, add a touch of olive oil, some garlic and green onions for flavoring. Dip bread in flavored olive oil or lightly spread it on whole-grain bread for a tasty alternative to butter. Try tahini or hummus as a dip or spread for bread too.
• Spice it up. Herbs and spices make food tasty and can stand in for salt and fat in recipes.
• Go fish. Eat fish at least twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Grill, bake or broil fish for great taste and easy cleanup. Avoid breaded and fried fish.
• Rein in the red meat. Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month. Substitute fish and poultry for red meat. When choosing red meat, make sure it's lean and keep portions small (about the size of a deck of cards). Also avoid sausage, bacon and other high-fat, processed meats.
• Choose low-fat dairy. Limit higher fat dairy products, such as whole or 2 percent milk, cheese and ice cream. Switch to skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low-fat cheese.