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Heart Healthy Eating: The Mediterranean Diet

Are you looking for a heart-healthy eating plan? One of the best meal plans for heart health is the Mediterranean Diet.

One of the best ways to prevent high blood cholesterol levels is by eating healthy and limited the amount of cholesterol in your diet. The Mediterranean Diet does this well. Modeled after the diet of people who live in countries bordering or close to the Mediterranean Sea, this diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and nuts, while limiting red meats and cutting back on dairy products. The Mediterranean Diet is a great eating plan to help prevent cardiovascular disease.

The main reason the Mediterranean Diet is a good choice when trying to prevent heart disease is that it is a plant-based diet, not meat-based. The combination of that and including healthy fats instead of saturated and trans fats makes for a great eating plan to help lower the intake of bad cholesterol.

Although there isn’t a set dieting plan, here are some of the general guidelines for following the Mediterranean diet found on Mayo Clinic’s website:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Aim for 7 to 10 servings a day of fruit and vegetables.
  • Opt for whole grains. Switch to whole-grain bread, cereal and pasta. Experiment with other whole grains, such as bulgur and farro.
  • Use healthy fats. Try olive oil as a replacement for butter when cooking. Instead of putting butter or margarine on bread, try dipping it in flavored olive oil.
  • Eat more seafood. Eat fish twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Grilled fish tastes good and requires little cleanup. Avoid deep-fried fish.
  • Reduce red meat. Substitute fish, poultry or beans for meat. If you eat meat, make sure it’s lean and keep portions small.
  • Enjoy some dairy. Eat low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and small amounts of a variety of cheeses.
  • Spice it up. Herbs and spices boost flavor and lessen the need for salt.

If you’re looking for a healthy eating plan to help you limit your amount of bad cholesterol, the Mediterranean diet might be what you are looking for!

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