If you’re looking for the best menu for your heart, check out the Mediterranean Diet. This plan incorporates a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It features fish and poultry—lean sources of protein—over red meat, which contains more saturated fat.
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. The diet has been associated with a lower level of bad cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits in your arteries.
Lexington Medical Center heart patient Thomas Harris learned all about the Mediterranean Diet while attending cardiac rehabilitation after open heart surgery last year. While Thomas has always led an active lifestyle, his old diet – high in saturated fat and processed foods – hurt his heart. After following the Mediterranean Diet for several months, his cholesterol is lower and he no longer has to take blood pressure medication. We introduce you to him in this WIS-TV news story.
“The typical American diet contains too many processed foods that are convenient and easy to eat on the go. They often contain too much sugar and processed flour,” said Lexington Medical Center cardiac rehabilitation dietitian Susan Wilkerson. “The more processed food is, the less nutritious. When we eat processed foods, we don’t get the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. We eat just to eat, not for our health. So we want to go back to eating whole foods.”
Mediterranean Diet Guidelines:
*Primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
*Replace butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
*Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
*Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month
*Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week