In previous blogs, we’ve discussed the many benefits and negative impacts that different foods and diets can have on your body and your heart. The foods you eat regularly have a huge impact on your body’s overall function; from weight management to the function of vital organs, taking care of your body is extremely important. Many people look at a diet as a form of restriction; meaning you focus on the things you can’t have, rather than what you can. The Mediterranean diet is a fantastic eating plan that not only gives you the ability to consume delicious foods but know the foods you are consuming are providing your body with numerous health benefits. So, what is it?
The Mediterranean diet is a basic incorporation of natural, plant-based foods, whole grains, beans, and healthy fats, such as raw nuts; you even have the option of the occasional glass of red wine. According to the American Heart Association, individuals that follow an average Mediterranean diet consume a much lower amount of saturated that those who eat the average American diet. Let’s break it down:
According to the Mayo Clinic, the traditional Mediterranean diet significantly reduces the risk of heart disease and is associated with decreased levels of LDL cholesterol. A decrease in LDL cholesterol limits the buildup of cholesterol deposits in your heart and arteries, ultimately reducing the overall risk of mortality related to cardiovascular issues. Additionally, the Mediterranean diet reduces the risks of different types of cancers and can prevent other major chronic illnesses.
Natural Foods: Fruits, Veggies, Grains
The main components of a healthy Mediterranean diet are natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains like pasta, bread, and different types of rice. Fruits and vegetables are packed with numerous antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients that come with many different health benefits. The key is to limit the number of bad fats, like trans and saturated fats, and substitute with more natural, beneficial options.
Healthy Fats: Nuts & Olive Oils
The Mediterranean diet doesn’t necessarily limit your fat intake, it does, however, reduce it to more monounsaturated fats, over saturated fats. High consumption of saturated and trans fats are major contributors to heart disease and other health issues. With a Mediterranean diet, a majority of your healthy fat consumption comes from nuts, usually raw, not roasted or heavily salted, and extra virgin or virgin olive oils. Additionally, fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon are used as substitutes for red meat, and also contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.