A heart-healthy eating plan – Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet combines;
- the basics of healthy eating
- a splash of flavorful olive oil
- a glass of red wine
- other components distinguishing the style of traditional cuisine in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
The healthy diets include fish, fruits, vegetables and whole grains excluding unhealthy fats.
Research has demonstrated the traditional Mediterranean diet reducing the risk of heart disease. Actually an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults showed that by following a Mediterranean diet it was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as Parkinson’s 帕金森氏症 and Alzheimer’s diseases 阿兹海默病/老年痴呆症.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the Mediterranean diet as an eating plan for promoting health and preventing disease.
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts, whole grains
- Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
- Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
- Replacing butter with healthy fats e.g. olive oil, canola oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
The diet also include physically active.
The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes fruits, vegetables and grains.
Whole grain and bread are an important part of the diet. The latter is dipped in olive oil, not with butter or margarine.
Nuts are another part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat, but most of the fat is healthy. Because nuts being high in calories, they should not be eaten in large quantity, no more than a handful a day. Avoid candied 糖漬 or honey-roasted and heavily salted nuts.
Select Healthier Fats
The Mediterranean diet rejects saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (trans fats), both of them accounting for heart disease.
The primary source of fat in Meditterranean diet is olive oil which is mainly monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat can help reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels 低密度脂蛋白（LDL）膽固醇水平. “Extra-virgin” grade of olive oils contains the highest levels of protective plant compounds which provide antioxidant effects.
Additional to healthy unsaturated fat canola oil contains linolenic acid 亞麻酸, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids help lowering triglycerides 甘油三酯, decreasing blood clotting which are associated with decreased incidence of sudden heart attacks, improving the health of blood vessels as well as moderating blood pressure. Fish is eaten on a regular basis in the Mediterranean diet and the fatty fishes, such as albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, lake trout, salmon and sardines, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
In some research studies, alcohol in moderation consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
The Mediterranean diet typically includes a moderate drink of wine, usually red wine. Limit to no more than 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine daily for women of all ages and men older than age 65 and no more than 10 ounces (296 milliliters) of wine daily for younger men. Exceeding the limit may increase the risk of health problems, including increased risk of certain types of cancer.