Mediterranean Diet – The Best Heart-Healthy Diet For You

Mediterranean diet is a generic term about traditional eating habits in countries around the Mediterranean Sea.

There is not one standard Mediterranean diet. There are 16 countries that border the Mediterranean. Eating style among these countries and even areas within every country because of culture difference, ethnic background, economy, religion, agricultural production, geography. However, there are some general factors.

What Is a Mediterranean Diet?

Mediterranean Diet
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The Mediterranean diet is a healthy dietary pattern for the heart followed by people of Mediterranean countries. According to Holly Klamer(MS, RDN)

The Mediterranean diet focus on consuming heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. She also tells following the Mediterranean diet has been liked with lowered death risk and cardiovascular problems.

The Mediterranean diet has been indicated to improve the life expectancy of people in some areas of the Middle East and other countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, southern France, and Crete. It also lowers the risk of chronic diseases and increases general well-being.

The Mediterranean diet has been called the healthiest diet around for years, and that is the most valid reason. It can also promote heart health, help weight loss, increase brain health, and prevent diseases risk. The Mediterranean diet is also not much restrictive than different popular diets. It targets a fair variety of whole foods, including fruits, olive oil, nuts, whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, and fish.

The Mediterranean diet is the best choice for people looking to consume for better heart health. Research shows that compared to a reduced-fat diet, consuming a Mediterranean diet with nuts or olive oil can help to lower the risk of stroke and heart attack. It is in part because of its focus on healthy fats, high-potassium, antioxidants foods like vegetables and fruits.

 

Mediterranean Diet Plan: 7-Days

Day 1

Boiled Egg
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Breakfast:

Kale, 4-almonds, 1-boiled egg, and celery smoothie.

Lunch:

Tuna/tofu, cucumber, 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt, tomato, and lettuce salad.

Snack: Eat one

cup of watermelon, mint salad, and feta cheese.

Dinner: Eat

1 cup of lentil soup with a half cup of cooked raw vegetables or 1-cup of milk before bed.

 

Day 2

Grilled Fish
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Breakfast: Eat

soft-boiled eggs or sesame seeds, Avocado toast with one cup of tea.

Lunch: Eat one

cup of cooked veggies with one cup of buttermilk with 3-4-slices of eggplant or 3-oz grilled fish.

Snack: Eat

hummus and Baby carrots with 1 cup of tea

Dinner: Eat

brown rice, Kidney beans with a side of veggies, and one small cup of yogurt.

 

Day 3

Grapefruit
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Breakfast:

Eat ½ grapefruit, ½ cup of vegetable quinoa, and 4-almonds.

Lunch: Eat

bell pepper salad, 1 cup of quinoa, and one hard-boiled egg.

Snack: Have one

cup of mixed fruits.

Dinner: Eat

2-whole wheat bread slices, ½ cup of chickpea curry and tomato salad, and one cup of cucumber.

 

Day 4

Oatmeal
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Breakfast: Eat one

cup of oatmeal with almond shavings, seasonal fruits, and melon seeds.

Lunch: Eat one

cup of mixed greens, grilled tofu or 2-crab cakes, half a cup of cooked or raw veggies.

Snack: Eat one

cup of freshly pressed juice with the pulp and 10-unsalted pistachios

Dinner: Eat one

cup of mushroom or chicken clear soup with a half cup of boiled veggies.

 

Day 5

Walnut Shakshuka
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Breakfast: Eat one

cup of coffee, 4 walnuts, Shakshuka.

Lunch:

Eat half cup of cooked veggies and a half cup of sprout salad.

Snack: Eat one

digestive biscuit and 1-cup of tea.

Dinner: Eat

mushroom or Broccoli casserole with one cup of mixed leafy greens.

 

Day 6

Lunch
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Breakfast: Eat

Whole wheat bread toast, banana, peanut butter, and one cup of tea.

Lunch: Eat

bell pepper, Zucchini, mushroom wheat pasta, olives with olive oil.

Snack: Eat half

cup of grapefruit salad.

Dinner: Eat

3 oz grilled chicken or tofu with 1-piece of dark chocolate and one cup of mixed veggies.

 

Day 7

Mixed Veggies Grilled Salmon
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Breakfast: Eat one

cup of tea, Shakshuka, a handful of unsalted nuts.

Lunch: Eat

Quinoa, bell pepper, greens salad, chickpea with cheese

Snack: Eat

1-saltine cracker and have one cup of cold coffee with coconut sugar.

Dinner: Eat

1-cup of mixed greens, 6-oz grilled salmon, and a half cup of veggies.

 

Precautions

Though the Mediterranean diet is healthy and very beneficial, ins cases, it may lead to:

  • Low levels of vitamin B12 and iron from not consuming sufficient red meat.
  • Calcium loss from eating some dairy products.
  • Seafood and nut allergies.

 

Should You Try A Mediterranean Diet?

Irrespective of your complete health condition, choosing the Mediterranean diet can give a positive long-term impact on life. This diet is sustainable as it adds a wide group of nutritious, delicious, and filling foods. It will change your food habits for the better, increase your fitness levels and brain functions. Make sure to take the advice of your physician before starting this diet.

 

Best Mediterranean Diet Foods Healthy for Heart

Olive oil

Olive oil
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Olive oil is great to help in the Mediterranean diet and is utilized in everything from cooking to dressing salad. It is delicious and provides impressive heart-healthy benefits. Research has discovered that olive oil has anti-hypertensive and anti-inflammatory qualities, which can help to check blood pressure. It is also indicated to decrease the risk of stroke and lower cholesterol.

Fish

Fish
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Fish is one of the healthy sources of protein that also provide healthy fats, making it good for both a heart-healthy and Mediterranean diet. Oily fish, like tuna, and salmon are especially rich in omega-3 fats, which increase blood lipid levels and reduce blood pressure.

Shellfish like shrimp also provide niacin, protein, and selenium, which help to keep the heart and body function well.

 

Leafy Greens

Leafy Greens
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Leafy greens are healthy vegetables to get plenty of nutrition and fewer calories. They provide high potassium, high fiber, and vitamin K, which help to manage blood pressure and increase blood clotting. Include lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, cabbage, collards in your daily diet to get benefits. Mediterranean diets have rich vegetables, so try spinach salad in Greek style, or sauteed kale and broccoli with toasted garlic butter as a dinner side.

 

Whole Grains

Whole Grains
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The Mediterranean diet does not have low carb, but it does target healthier carbohydrates, including whole grains. Compared to refined grains, whole grains have full fiber and nutrients crucial for heart health. Unrefined grains are the base of most Mediterranean meals, be it pasta, barley, bread, or couscous.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes
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From Caprese to pasta sauce and more, tomatoes are as versatile as they are healthy for the heart. Tomatoes consist of an antioxidant called lycopene that can save arteries from atherosclerosis and other types of cardiovascular disease. Lycopene has also been linked with healthier cholesterol levels. The potassium and antioxidants present in tomatoes combined help decrease blood pressure and lower stroke risk.

 

Beans

Beans
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Beans are a versatile source of protein and feature mainly in the Mediterranean diet, especially since it prioritizes consuming more plants. Additionally, to the fiber present in beans, consuming them can help to reduce cholesterol. Try including chickpeas in a salad, enjoying lentil soup, or adding hummus as a dip for vegetables.

 

Nuts & seeds

Nuts seeds
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Nuts have plenty of heart-healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins. Research

indicates that consuming nuts normally is best for the heart to get health benefits. Like different foods in the Mediterranean diet, nuts also have full antioxidants that provide a heart-healthy boost. Try some nuts and seeds as a snack, use them to include in a salad.

 

Berries

Berries
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Berries are also a staple of both heart-healthy and Mediterranean eating patterns. Berries consist of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber that benefit blood pressure and arteries at their healthiest. Consuming berries like blueberries commonly have been linked with significant cholesterol improvement, blood vessel function, and blood clotting. Add them into smoothies and top on a yogurt parfait.

 

Foods To Avoid

Refined Carbs:

White bread, White sugar, refined flour, bagels, pasta, and croissant.

Processed Foods:

Salami, Sausage, frozen foods, ready-to-eat foods, canned foods, cheese sticks, and chicken nuggets.

Salty and Sugary Foods:

Pastry, Cake, doughnuts, candies, wafers, caramel, cold coffee, flavored hot or milk chocolate, maple syrup, packaged iced tea, pickle, kimchi, packaged sauces, added salt, and high fructose corn syrup.

Protein:

Red meat and chicken with skin.

Oils, Fats & Trans Fats: margarine, Lard, butter, mayonnaise, vegetable oil, fried foods, and chips.

Dairy:

Processed cheese, Flavoured yogurt, and non-dairy whiteners.

Beverages:

Packaged fruit, Excess alcohol, sports drinks, and vegetable juices, and soft drinks.

 

Benefits of Mediterranean Diet

Good For Your Heart

Good For Your Heart
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The modern-day diet primarily adds trans fats and saturated fats that lead to different heart problems. The Mediterranean diet adds fish rich with omega-3 fatty acids, seeds, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, improving heart health, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing stroke.

This diet increases blood sugar levels, lowers inflammation, and body mass index, which helps to lower the cardiovascular disease risk.

 

Promotes Weight Loss

Promotes Weight Loss
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Extra weight and obesity because of overconsumption of food and an active lifestyle are the most general reasons for different health complications throughout the world. The Mediterranean diet is not necessarily a diet for weight loss, though it may help for weight loss.

This diet pattern manages extra calorie consumption, lowers hunger because of high fiber and low BMI. It is safe to say that weight loss from the Mediterranean diet is a by-product of choosing nutrition foods over junk food and processed foods.

 

Good For Managing Diabetes

Good For Managing Diabetes
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Lifestyle and Dietary modifications have shown favorable results in diabetes management. 6-month research regarding the effects of following a Mediterranean dietary pattern on people with type-2 diabetes shown ate better glycemic management and lower cholesterol levels and body weight compared to different diets. Higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of future diabetes by 19% to 23%.

 

Improves Brain Health

Improves Brain Health
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The Mediterranean diet is rich in nuts, olive oil, seeds, and fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are present in fatty fish, olive oil, and flax seeds. They also provide anti-inflammatory properties, and omega-3 fats are metabolized in DHA and EPA, which are strong nutrients for brain health.

Research tells that higher tolerance to the Mediterranean diet lowers cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

Regulates Blood Pressure Levels

Regulates Blood Pressure Levels
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The Mediterranean diet excludes processed red meat and junk foods. Following to this diet lower the risk of hypertension, which is caused because of high salt consumption from processed foods, high cholesterol levels, and higher BMI level because of eating saturated fats and red meat.

 

May Lower The Risk Of Cancer

May Lower The Risk Of Cancer
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The Mediterranean diet has been shown to lower the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease said by Dr. Carrie Lam,

Various scientific studies show that the Mediterranean diet can help to lower the risk of breast cancer, neck, head, colon, prostate, rectum, stomach, and liver cancer. This diet also lowers the cancer mortality rate.

 

Improves Sexual Health In Female

Improves Sexual Health In Female
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Metabolic syndromes like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular condition, and hypertension can impact sexual function in females. Research showed that females who manage a Mediterranean diet had a good sexual function index than those who did not. Therefore, this could be a potential dietary strategy to increase sexual function in a female with metabolic syndrome.

 

Lower Inflammation

Lower Inflammation
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Chronic inflammation can raise the risk of arthritis and obesity and low immunity. A Mediterranean-style diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps to lower inflammation, risk of diseases. Other foods like fruits and vegetables included in the diet also provide antioxidant properties that lower inflammation.

 

Boost Healthy Aging

Boost Healthy Aging
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Aging is unavoidable, but with the right lifestyle and diet, you can prevent the fast-aging process.

A Mediterranean diet removes every processed food and includes omega-3 rich and plenty of antioxidant-rich foods that help in healthy aging and increase the life quality.

Research shows that this diet lowers early cardiovascular risks and the onset of frailty because of aging. It also increases physical mobility and agility. It also lowers age-related diseases and healthy aging.

What About Other Popular Diets?

What About Other Popular Diets
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You might know about famous diets like ketogenic, paleo, interval, Atkins, whole 30, and zone. Remember, not all trending diets meet the AHA’s science-based criteria for a healthy pattern for eating. Some show dramatic but short-term effects and they are not heart-healthy.

Dietary-Approaches-to-stop-Hypertension is another eating diet that aligns with AHA suggestions and has been shown to help health. The DASH diet makes more meat and dairy products, while the Mediterranean diet adds regular utilization of olive oil.

A plant-based vegan or vegetarian diet can also be a healthy eating way. The necessary important thing is to focus on the complete quality of diet, rather than single food or nutrients. Try to add extra nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and legumes. Limit foods that provide more calories but have some nutritional value.

 

Mediterranean Diet: Pros and Cons

Pros

It’s Easy To Stick With

A diet only works if it is feasible. That means all in your family can consume it and you can eat in this style no matter where you eat in-home or outside. With its flavors and different foods that do not cut out different food groups, this is one such eating diet plan. It is an appealing diet that one can keep for the long term.

You Can Eat What You Love

During the Mediterranean diet, you can eat a variety of foods. You do not need to remove your favorite foods. They may need some tweaks. For example, instead of a pepperoni pizza and sausage, you would choose one piled high with veggies. You can also fit more food into one meal. Filling up on fresh foods like vegetables and fruit will make you develop volume into your meal for low calories.

It’s Low In Saturated Fat

You will not feel hungry after eating like this way, because you can develop a variety of healthy fats. But by restricting a large amount of processed or red meats depending heavily on monounsaturated fatty acids, like nuts, avocado, or olive oil, you will manage saturated fat levels low. These fats do not increase cholesterol like saturated fats. Healthy sources of fat include fish oils, olive oil, and nut-based oils.

Lower Risk of Disease

Growing research suggests that people who follow a Mediterranean diet are at low risk of heart disease than people who follow a typical American diet. What is more, evidence is starting that shows people who consume this way have less risk of prostate cancer, colon cancer, and some neck cancer and head cancer.

Cons

Milk is Limited

There is no risk of long term for the Mediterranean, but you may gain weight if you drink more for calcium need. You will get to consume yogurt and cheese but in low amounts. Try different sources of calcium and instead of depending on only milk.

 

You Still have to Cap Alcohol

The main thing about the Mediterranean diet is that red wine consumption is socially allowed as healthy, but females are still advised to stick to one glass and male two glasses. If you have a family history of breast cancer than alcohol raises the risk.

 

Fat Is Not Unlimited Either

Like wine, it is possible to have more good things when it comes to healthy fats. The Mediterranean diet meets a heart-healthy diet. While the Mediterranean diet is healthy for the heart for saturated fat, your total fat consumption could be higher than the everyday recommended amount are not careful.

Additionally, as Harvard Health Publishing, not every fat is made equal, and you will wish to lower saturated fat consumption in favor of healthier fats like those present in olive oil.

Your complete daily fat consumption should offer 20-35% of total daily caloric consumption, said to the Institute of Medicine and saturated fats should represent lower than 7% of whole caloric consumption.

 

You Have To Find Time To Cook

While you do not have more time to cook in the kitchen, you will need to cook because the diet is all about knowing your delicious food. You may have to understand food and skills.

 

Mediterranean Diet: Potential Short- and Long-Term Effects

As has ended up being unmistakable, there are various expected advantages from embracing a Mediterranean eating routine. Over the long haul, these wellbeing impacts might be more articulated and can incorporate brain health by easing back intellectual decrease and bringing down the hazard of Alzheimer’s infection and different dementias.

  • It also may help to prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • The diet is also helpful for mental health and depression.
  • Some data suggest it helps to relieve arthritis symptoms.

In the short term, you may reduce a modest quantity of weight for one year of span and are likely to manage it if you continue to follow the diet. If eating in the Mediterranean style prompts you to eat more vegetables and fruits, especially dark leafy greens like spinach, fresh berries, and cucumber, will have low depression symptoms, better mood, and more satisfaction in your lives.

 

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