There is an increasing demand for information relating to ways on how to combat heart diseases. This health condition has been one of the leading causes of mortality around the globe. If you want to protect your heart then the Mediterranean diet might suit you. It is a type of diet that blends the traditional Mediterranean way of cooking and flavors without the need to use artificial flavorings.
A lot of researches on this type of diet begun during the 1960s after an observation that heart diseases are not common in Mediterranean countries like Greece and Italy compared to other countries like the United States and parts of Northern Europe. Later studies found out that this diet is linked to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
1. Lifestyle Change
Mediterranean diet is not all about food restriction, but it is based on the traditional way of cooking and eating foods. A typical meal consists of more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, seeds, and healthy oils like olive oil. It means that you need to change your bad eating habits and switch to healthier food choices. The most common concepts that you need to keep in mind are:
- Inclusion of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats in the diet
- Increase consumption of fish, egg, poultry, and beans as a source of protein
- Moderate intake of dairy products
- Very limited intake of red meat in the diet
Other imperative elements are enjoying eating with family friends while sipping wine and being active all the time.
2. Forget about Meat Based Protein
The main ingredient of a Mediterranean meal plan is vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, and herbs. The meal plan revolves around these plant-based food choices. Moderate consumption of foods like dairy, shellfish, poultry, and egg is an important part of the diet. The most important thing to keep in mind is to eat red meat occasionally.
3. Consider Healthy fat Sources
Saturated and trans fat are not part of the Mediterranean diet as it is the major cause of cardiovascular diseases. The diet makes use of olive oil as much as possible as it is composed of monounsaturated fatty acid that has long been known to decrease cholesterol level and LDL or bad cholesterol. Oil from nuts and seeds are also a consideration in the diet as it contains monounsaturated fats.
Healthy fats can also be found in fishes like sardines, tuna, mackerel, herring, salmon, and trout. These fishes are known to be rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated fatty acids that can decrease inflammation within the body. Aside from that, this healthy fat is related to a significant reduction in triglyceride, high blood pressure, and blood clotting.
4. Add Wine in the Diet
A typical Mediterranean meal plan includes red wine in the diet but moderation. Although some studies link wine with reduced coronary diseases, it is still not risk-free.
5. Limit Sugar Intake
Mediterranean foods are not sweet. It is a bit bland once you taste baked goods in this part of the world. Sugary foods and beverages are made using simple sugar and trans fat which are very unhealthy for the heart.
6. Avoid Refined Carbohydrates
If you want to focus on Mediterranean foods, then you should forget about eating white bread, white rice, pasta, potatoes, and other refined carbohydrates. The main reason is that these carbs are easily digested by the body and converted into sugar that can accumulate in the blood.
7. Do Not Skip Breakfast
This diet gives importance to eating healthy and energy-boosting breakfast. Mediterranean meal plan emphasizes eating breakfast as the most important meal every day. Their typical breakfast is consisting of whole grains and most of the time full of colors from fruits and vegetables.