»The best diet for a healthy heart is still the Mediterranean diet, » says Steven Nissen, MD from the Cleveland Clinic.
»Together with regular physical activity and not smoking, our analyses suggest that over 80% of coronary heart disease, 70% of stroke, and 90% of type 2 diabetes can be avoided by healthy food choices that are consistent with the traditional Mediterranean diet.” -Harvard School of Public Health. THAT, is a powerful endorsement!
The long history of the Mediterranean diet originates from the regions around southern Italy, Greece, Turkey and Spain, and their eating habits that have contributed to their increased life span, and reduced risk of cardiovascular health. Not only is it a great way to reduce inflammation, but it is also just downright tasty!
So, What is a Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is one that focuses on and includes lots of:
- Fresh fruits
- Non-Starchy vegetables (Broccoli, spinach, kale, eggplant, cauliflower, artichokes, and of course, tomatoes)
- Nuts and Seeds
- Cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
- Legumes and beans (chickpeas, hummus, lentils and the like)
- Lots of spices and herbs (Basil, Garlic, Oregano and etc..)
- Low-glycemic index and load whole grains
- They eat wild-caught fish and seafood at least twice a week
- Free-run poultry, and eggs
- Plenty of fresh water
- Coffee and/or tea
- And for most a daily glass of red wine
It also reduces and removes:
- Refined sugars
- Red Meats, eating it only on occasion
- High-glycemic fruits (like bananas, pineapple and etc..)
The Mediterranean Lifestyle
However, most people forget that there are some very important lifestyle differences and patterns that people living in those areas practice on a daily basis, which may be just as important! Here are some of the habits that increase the health benefits of this powerhouse:
- They eat slowly and take their time. Often, meals in this area of the world last hours
- They often eat in social settings, further reducing stress
- They eat fresh local produce
- They get good sleep
But I heard fat is bad for your heart!?
Once again, we have been fed a lie… Did you know that since we have adopted the low-fat craze, obesity and heart disease risk has actually 2X!!
The fact is according to the British Medical Journal, BMJ, »Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions » –British Medical Journal/British Journal of Sports Medicine
Actually, in the graphic above, the British Medical Journal illustrated that the High Fat Mediterranean Diet was the answer to inflammation and insulin resistance.
I hope this has convinced you of the possible benefits of adopting a Mediterranean diet, and this is why with 90% of clients I start immediately with this diet or a dietary pattern which resembles it closely!
- Mediterranean diet and prevention of coronary heart disease in the elderly, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684076/
- Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet, https://dadun.unav.edu/bitstream/10171/28216/2/MartinezNewEngland.pdf
- Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29177567
- The Mediterranean diet: science and practice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16512956
- Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/15/1111