The Mediterranean diet
You may have heard about the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. There’s evidence that this kind of diet can improve heart health.1 It’s naturally low in fat and salt, and there have been many studies that show its cardio-protective benefits.2
To recreate the Mediterranean diet, just follow these simple guidelines…1
- Eat plenty of fruit and veg. This includes pulses such as beans, peas and lentils. Plant-based foods contain crucial vitamins, minerals and fibre, as well as phytochemicals that help prevent a build-up of fatty plaque on the artery walls. Aim for at least five portions a day.’
- Choose whole grains. Oats, barley, rye and quinoa are all great sources of soluble fibre, which helps to control cholesterol.
- Swap full-fat dairy products for low-fat varieties. Try skimmed milk, cottage cheese and reduced-fat Cheddar, and choose healthy vegetable oils for salad dressings and cooking. Replacing saturated fats, such as butter, with unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, helps lower bad cholesterol.
- Cut back on meat. Choosing fish, pulses or tofu will help you to cut back on saturated fat. Oily fish, such as salmon or trout, contains omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help reduce the risk of blood clots.
- Have a small glass of red wine. Red wine contains a phytochemical called resveratrol, which in moderation is thought to have a positive effect on cholesterol, helping to make blood less sticky and keeping blood vessels elastic. But don’t have more than two 125ml glasses a day.
FIND OUT MORE:
Try some delicious Mediterranean recipes here.
1https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/hearthealth.pdf, Accessed September 2018
2Sofi et al: Adherence to Mediterranean diet and health status: meta-analysis, BMJ 2008;337:a1344 doi:10.1136/bmj.a1344