Mediterranean Diet will help you to keep your heart in great physical condition while at the same time you will be enjoying a healthy diet, applying the motto Healthier eating for a healthier heart. The Mediterranean diet, Med diet, is a diet based on Mediterranean foods and the Mediterranean cuisine. Med diet is a 2500 year old healthy diet which is low in fat, it includes food with fiber such as fruit and vegetables and monounsaturated fats like olive oil.
Mediterranean diet is based on the balance of the Mediterranean foods that form the so called Mediterranean diet pyramid. Balance is important so as to maintain the physical and mental health. The various Mediterranean foods can be grouped in several groups and according to which group they belong they can be eaten more often than others.
Bread, pasta and other starchy foods:
Your daily meal plan should include foods like cereals, bread and/or pasta which are high in fiber content and at the same time low in fat content. Some suggestions are porridge oats, wholegrain bread and wholegrain cereals for breakfast.
Fruits and vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber and antioxidants and for this reason we should include them in our daily eating plan in high frequency in various forms. Since each fruit and vegetable varies in nutrition one should vary the fruits and vegetable eaten so as to ensure that a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are taken. Even though you should prefer fresh produce, other forms like frozen and canned fruits or even dried ones, count as a portion. So do 100% pure juices.
Meat, fish, lentils, pulses, eggs, Olive oil and nuts:
Meat should be consumed rarely. White meat can be taken once a week but red meat should be taken once or twice a month and both meats should be lean cuts without the skin. The reason being that you should reduce as much as possible the saturated fat intake. Fish should be consumed frequently, at least twice a week. Oil-rich fish like salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids which may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Lentils and pulses, like beans, broad beans and peas, contain fiber and, once eaten regularly, can help reduce your cholesterol levels. Eggs should be eaten once a week. Olive oil should be used for cooking and in salads.
Milk and dairy products:
Mediterranean diet dictates that milk and dairy products are taken regularly since they are a rich source of calcium. By consuming three portions of dairy foods you can achieve your daily calcium requirements. You should however replace the full-fat dairy products with low-fat ones, whether this is milk or yogurt and choose low-fat white cheese such as Halloumi, feta, mozzarella or Beyaz Peynir Mediterranean cheeses so as not to increase the fat levels while attempting to nourish the body with calcium.
Foods and drinks that contain high percentage of either fat or sugar or both:
Reduce or cut down fully saturated fats foods and foods with a lot of sugar. Use olive oil instead of saturated fat spreads. Reduce to the minimum foods like fast food and full fat butter as they may contain hydrogenated fats, which can increase cholesterol.
Following the Mediterranean diet which is simply a way of healthy living will enable you to have a healthier heart since it reduces the intake of saturated fat that results to lower levels of cholesterol which is the number one enemy of the heart.