If you’re looking for a heart-healthy eating plan, the Mediterranean diet may be the best for you. This kind of diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating — plus a hint of flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine — among other components characterizing the traditional cooking style of countries that border the Mediterranean region.
Most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains and limit unhealthy fats. While these components of a healthy Mediterranean diet for heart health are proven and tested, subtle variations or differences in proportions of certain foods may make a difference in your risk of heart disease.
Key Components of the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet mainly emphasizes on the following:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Replacing butter with healthy fats like olive oil and canola oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour your dishes
- Limiting the consumption of red meat to no more than a couple of times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
- This is entirely optional, but you can drink a glass of red wine in moderation
- Getting a lot of exercise
The Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
Research has proven that the traditional Mediterranean diet helps lowers the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, the diet has also been associated with a lowered level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits inside of your arteries.
As a matter of fact, a meta-analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following the Mediterranean diet was linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality as well as overall mortality.
In addition, the Mediterranean diet is also linked with a lowered incidence of cancer, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil and with mixed nuts may have a lowered risk of breast cancer.
For these reasons alone, most if not all major scientific organizations encourage most healthy adults to adopt a style of eating like that of the people living in the Mediterranean region for the prevention of major chronic diseases.
Regarding About Wine Consumption
The health effects of alcohol have been debated for many years, and some doctors are reluctant to encourage alcohol consumption because of the health consequences of excessive drinking. However, in moderate amounts, alcohol has been associated with a lowered risk of heart disease in some research studies.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet usually includes a moderate amount of wine. Meaning, no more than 5 ounces (148 millilitres) of wine for women and no more than 10 ounces (296 millilitres) of wine daily for men under the age of 65.
When it comes to heart health, a Mediterranean diet for heart health is the best way to go. Sure, eating too much of a good thing, or even drinking too much red wine, is still going to be bad for your body. Just remember to have everything in moderation and always keep yourself in the best shape you can