Food Your Heart Will Love
Feb 01, 2017
February is American Heart Month!!!
Eating the “Mediterranean Way” is a way of eating based on traditional foods & cooking methods of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
Health and wellness experts have been supporting this heart healthy way of eating for years and the benefits have been widely researched, supported and have shown to reduce cardiovascular disease risk, improve aging, memory, and quality of life.
The main components of eating the “Mediterranean Way”:
- Minimally processed foods
- Mostly plant-based diet
- Rich in monounsaturated fats
- Emphasis on fish & shellfish
The basic eating pattern includes:
- Generous amounts of fruits & vegetables every day (think 5 a day or more)
- Whole grains & legumes
- Fish or shellfish at least twice a week
- Healthy fats such as olive oil & canola oil
- Herbs & spices rather than salt to flavor foods
- Small portions of nuts & seeds
- Small portions of red meat on special occasions
- Red wine in moderation (optional)
- Being physically active
- Enjoying meals with others.
Here are some heart smart food choices:
- Fruits & Vegetables – aim for at least 5 servings per day
- Seeds & Nuts – aimfor a small serving of nuts every day
- Flax Seed – one tablespoon of ground flax seed/day (Omega 3’s)
- Oatmeal – a good source of fiber, aim for 25 grams of fiber daily
- Salmon & Tuna – good source of heart healthy Omega 3 fats
- Whole grain bread & cereals – make sure the label does not say “Enriched” or “Bleached”)
- Lean Meats & Poultry – remember fish & seafood are best and the ”Less Legs the Better”
- Skim Milk – choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products
- Legumes – the insoluble fiber in them helps to lower blood cholesterol
- Foods prepared with Herbs & Spices (rather than salt)
(Am J Clin Nutr March 2006 83:3 575-581; Am J Clin Nutr September 2005 82:3 694-699; J. Nutr. July 2006 136:7 1879-1885; Am J Clin Nutr November 2013 98:5 1263-1271; First published online September 18, 2013. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.051276).
Melanie Kluzek, Registered Dietitian for County Market