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Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan

The Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet
The heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating plan based on typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking.

The diet includes fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine.

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Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan

Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801

mayoclinic.org

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Key Ideas

The Mediterranean diet

The heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating plan based on typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking.

The diet includes fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine.

Benefits of the Traditional Mediterranean diet

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet 

  • reduces the risk of heart disease
  • is associated with a lower level of the "bad" cholesterol
  • is associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. 

Key components of the Mediterranean diet

  • Eating of primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Enjoying meals with family and friends
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise.

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The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet

The basic concept of the paleo diet is to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods.

Studies suggest that this diet can lead to significant weight loss and major improveme...

A general guideline

There is no one "right" way to eat for everyone.

Some eat a low-carb diet high in animal foods, while others follow a high-carb diet with lots of plants.

Avoid these foods and ingredients:

  • Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • All Grains.
  • Legumes like beans and lentils.
  • Most Dairy, especially low-fat dairy.
  • Some vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, corn, grapeseed, safflower and other oils.
  • Trans fats: "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils found in margarine and various processed foods.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium. 
  • Highly processed foods: Everything labeled "diet" or "low-fat" or that has many additives.

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The Mediterranean Diet

The diet is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. 

It features fish and poultry—lean sources of protein—over red meat. 

Red win...

Research suggests these benefits:

  • Improved weight loss
  • Better control of blood glucose (sugar) levels
  • Reduced risk of depression
  • Associated with reduced levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease

How to change over to a Mediterranean Diet

Start small. Follow the strategies below, and make it a habit.

  1. Switch up your oil to extra-virgin olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. Drizzle it on finished dishes like fish or chicken to boost flavor.
  2. Eat More fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel. 
  3. Eat veggies all day long.
  4. Phase in "real" whole grains that are still in their “whole” form and haven’t been refined.
  5. Snack on nuts, like almonds, cashews, or pistachios. 
  6. Enjoy Fruit for dessert. Also keep fresh fruit visible at home to snack on.
  7. Sip (a little) wine.
  8. Instead of gobbling your meal in front of the TV, slow down and sit down at the table with your family and friends to savor what you’re eating.

Best foods don’t have labels

Best foods don’t have labels
Because they are just one ingredient: avocado, lentils, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.

There is no "best diet"

The “best” diet is a theme: an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and plain water for thirst. 

That can be with or without seafood; with or without dairy; with or without eggs; with or without some meat; high or low in total fat.

The "Age" of vegetables

The best vegetables are likely to be fresh and locally sourced, but flash frozen is nearly as good (as freezing delays aging). Those “fresh” vegetables that spend a long time in storage or transit are probably the least nutritious.

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