ADVENTIST LA GRANGE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: The Best Diet for Your Heart Won’t Feel Like a Diet
Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital issued the following announcement on Jan. 8.
Diets, they come, and diets, they go. But according to Cleveland Clinic, one remains the kindest of all to your heart: the Mediterranean Diet.
A veritable Greek island cruise for your ticker, the diet mirrors the typical eating patterns of Mediterranean countries, with an emphasis on plant-based foods, delicious seasonings, olive oil instead of butter, whole grains and minimal red meat. It originated when researchers observed that people in Mediterranean countries exhibited lower rates of heart disease than the U.S., despite eating the same high amounts of fat.
The diet rose in popularity after a 2013 research study touted its health benefits, then dipped slightly when the study had to be corrected due to a potential data bias. Research hiccups aside, the diet delivered the same results before and after the correction: people on the Mediterranean Diet are 30 percent less likely to have a stroke or heart attack.
February is Heart Health Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to try the Mediterranean Diet out for yourself. Here are some easy ways to get started:
Start Your Morning with a Smoothie
A good smoothie jam-packs a ton of vital nutrients into each blissful sip. It’s a breakfast in a glass that won’t leave you feeling logy. You can customize your smoothie with whatever fruits and vegetables you love most, but we recommend building it atop a foundation of Greek yogurt and a handful of spinach (for extra calcium and iron).
Get Started with: Mango strawberry smoothie (Mediterranean Living)
Taste the Rainbow
Vegetables and fruits with vibrant colors provide ample phytonutrients and have antioxidant properties that guard against chronic disease. They’re also a great source of fiber. Your body will feel the benefits after as little as two cups of fresh produce each day.
So the next time you’re at the grocery store, gather a rainbow from the produce aisle: red cherry tomatoes, orange peppers, yellow lemons, green avocados, blueberries, blackberries and purple eggplant. You’ll have the raw materials for a wide variety of online recipes for Mediterranean Diet dishes and snacks.
Make Olives and Nuts Your Go-To Snacks
One of the best parts of the Mediterranean Diet is that you never lack for hearty snack options. Olives, unsalted or low-sodium tree nuts, seeds and avocado slices can all help you quash cravings between meals. Combined, they look so good that you’ll forget all about those Doritos in your pantry. Try keeping a plate of herbed olives, tangy Spanish cheese, seasoned almonds, cherry tomatoes and pieces of fresh whole-grain bread close at hand.
One Fish, Two Fish, Plant-Based Veg Dish
Prepare at least two meals with fish as your main each week. They’re rich source of omega-3 fatty acid, which have a heart-protective effect by helping lower elevated triglycerides in your blood. Omega-3 fats can also decrease inflammation in the body.
Salmon, tuna, herring and trout are particularly rich omega-3 sources. Walnuts and flaxseed also make for excellent non-fish sources.
Alternate these fish dishes with at least two plant-based vegetarian meals per week. Look for recipes that lean on beans, legumes, nuts and lentils. In addition to providing protein, they’re all substantial sources of fiber, iron and magnesium.
Don't Skimp on the Sauce
Twice per week, you should also enjoy an olive oil-based sauce. If your meal recipes don’t include them, you can always create your own dipping sauces for pita wedges, carrot sticks and beyond.
Wine Is Fine (Some of the Time)
Grapes count as fruit, right? Red wine contains antioxidants; just be careful to imbibe in moderation. Women should have no more than one glass per day, and men should have no more than two.
Fat Can Be Your Friend
Healthful monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are an important part of the Mediterranean Diet. The protective benefits of these fats have been linked to decreased rates of a wide spectrum of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia. Olive oil is the main source of these beneficial fats, with tree nuts providing a daily supplement.
Pretend You're on a Greek Holiday
Your Mediterranean Diet doesn’t have to stop at the kitchen table. Supplement your healthy eating with your favorite fitness activities. Go for walks with friends and loved ones. Ride your bike. Try a yoga class. Or go full Greek and just dance out of the sheer joy of being alive.
Original source can be found here.
Source: Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital