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Eat Your Heart Out

Feb 6, 2022

 

Looking to Prevent Heart Disease? Consider Your Diet.

For a long time, focusing on a healthy diet has been identified as an instrumental piece in heart disease prevention. But for many, it has been confusing for the average person to know what “heart healthy eating” looks like. But now there is more evidence than ever before that the Mediterranean Diet is likely one of the best eating strategies to prevent heart disease.

What is it?

For those less familiar with this diet, the Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) is a way of eating that’s based on the traditional cuisines of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It includes plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Olive oil is the main source of added fat. Both are foundational elements of the MedDiet.

Fish, seafood, dairy and poultry are included in moderation. Red meat and red wine are eaten only occasionally, and sweets are often substituted with fruit. The American Heart Association’s healthy eating recommendations heavily overlap with the MedDiet guidelines including:

  • Emphasizing vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legume,
  • Encouraging consumption of low-fat dairy products, fish and oils
  • Limiting high processed food and sugars

More than rules:

But according to a critical research review of studies on the MedDiet and heart health, eating habits like the MedDiet are more about setting up life eating patterns rather than just restricting foods. In fact, at this point, no other dietary pattern has been so comprehensively assessed and found as effective in warding off heart disease. Based on the research, the more someone adheres to the MedDiet, the better cardiovascular health outcomes they achieve. These outcomes include reductions in rates of coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, and total cardiovascular disease.

There’s nothing fishy about the Mediterranean Diet. Adhering to its guidelines is another excellent way to prevent heart disease. Take care of your heart and your heart will take care of you!

Looking for more ways to care for your heart? Check out the other posts in our series below.

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