December 10, 2015 (Mayo Clinic) The heart-healthy Mediterranean is a healthy eating plan based on typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking. If you’re looking for a heart-healthy eating plan, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you.
Most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limit unhealthy fats.
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the Mediterranean diet as an eating plan that can help promote health and prevent disease. The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active, and enjoying meals with family and friends. Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain very few unhealthy trans fats, and bread is an important part of the diet.


The focus of the Mediterranean diet isn’t on limiting total fat consumption, but rather on choosing healthier types of fat. Eat your veggies and fruits — and switch to whole grains.Avariety of plant foods should make up the majority of your meals. Spice it up. Herbs and spices make food tasty and can stand in for salt and fat in recipes. Choose low-fat dairy. Limit higher fat dairy products, such as whole or 2 percent milk, cheese and ice cream. The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating — plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps even a glass of red wine — among other components characterizing the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. While these parts of a healthy diet remain tried-and-true, subtle variations or differences in proportions of certain foods may make a difference in your risk of heart disease. However, throughout the Mediterranean region, bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil — not eaten with butter or margarine, which contains saturated or trans fats.


The Mediterranean diet discourages saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (trans fats), both of which contribute to heart disease.
Olive oil is mainly monounsaturated fat — a type of fat that can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated or trans fats. Switch to whole-grain bread and cereal, and begin to eat more whole-grain rice and pasta products. Dip bread in flavored olive oil or lightly spread it on whole-grain bread for a tasty alternative to butter.



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