Because February is National Heart Disease Awareness Month, we want to build awareness about some slight habit changes that can improve your heart health. The Mediterranean diet has proven heart and general health benefits. By incorporating small changes into your daily food routines, the Mediterranean diet helps cut out unhealthy fats, sweets, and processed foods; replacing them with heart-friendly fruits and veggies, legumes, fish, and other lean meats. The best part: you can, literally, eat these fruits and veggies to your heart’s content, satiating your belly with nutrient and fiber-rich foods that will improve your health and your life.
Many studies show that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest eating habits you can adopt, but what exactly is the Mediterranean diet? This balanced approach revolves each meal around a base of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and olive oil. Healthy fish and seafood, such as sea bass, salmon, halibut, cod, and scallops, accompany each meal about two or three times a week, since they are high in protein and low in fat. Poultry and dairy are recommended in moderate portions, with red meats and sweets eaten rarely. With an increase in fruits and vegetables, and by incorporating extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts; this dietary plan can greatly improve your heart health and reduce the chance of cardiovascular disease.
You can make small adjustments to your everyday cooking routines to accommodate the Mediterranean diet. Swapping ingredients are simple changes for your everyday lifestyle, and won’t keep you from the foods you enjoy. For example, replacing butter with olive oil, using spices instead of salt, and trading red meat for fish or poultry, are easy swaps that will help keep your heart strong.The Mediterranean diet even includes moderate servings of red wine to enjoy with your meal- instead of the sugary cocktail. Another good idea is to make sure that half of your plate is always full of plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables By making these small adjustments when cooking at home, you are providing nourishing meals to keep your body healthy and happy.
We think the Mediterranean diet is a great way to help make small changes that will improve your overall heart health, but everybody has different health needs. For more information about your specific dietary requirements, please seek the individualized guidance of your Foundation Health team. Another good source for more information about the Mediterranean diet is linked above.