diet,  Healthy eating,  Heart

Mediterranean diet for heart health- How this diet saved my life

Heart health

We all would love to live a healthy life by using the foods that we eat every day. This is vital because every thing you eat will ultimately affectMediterranean diet, heart health your heart, whether you like it or not. This is why I am in love with foods that look out for my heart. In fact I prioritize on these foods.

A Mediterranean diet for heart health comes up as number one for giving you a healthier and a strong life. This has been the case for me ever since I changed my diet 8 years ago. Although my change was caused by an illness I had gotten I am glad I changed my diet to focus on this diet because my life has been way healthier and I am having great healthy factors in my life.

This article will be talking about what a Mediterranean diet is, who it is best for, The pros and cons of the diet.

What is a Mediterranean diet?

A Mediterranean diet is basically a diet originating from the Greece, Italian and Spanish way of eating in the 1940s and is considered the healthiest diet on earth by many experts. This diet mainly focuses on lean meat like Poultry and Fish and doesn’t include red meat. It also includes vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains which help with the balancing out of the lean meat.

The good aspect about this diet is that it only includes the healthy types of oils,which according to Medical News Today, are good for heart health due to a study that was done in Spain which looked at the biological and clinical effects of olive oil.

This diet is what I specifically used to unclog my heart arteries 8 years ago and I am still using till today. What was amazing was that I never knew it was a Mediterranean diet until only 2 years ago. I was only eating these selected types of foods because I was reading different articles online which were talking about foods that do not unclog your heart arteries or those that help unclog heart arteries and keep them heart healthy.

Is the Mediterranean diet for you?

I have to confess that there are some diets which are considered to only be good for certain types of people. This of course could be due toheart health many factors which can contribute. For instance, in my case, I had to change my diets to a more plant based due to the illness I had developed.

However over time I found out that actually diets say a lot about your future heart health or just your future health in general. So choosing a healthier option can actually improve your life or even help reduce a disease you have.

Think of your diet just like your thoughts. Would you want to invite negative thoughts in your daily life just because you feel comfortable or you are oblivious?, of course not. Because you will end up being a negative and depressed person right? So it is the same with the foods you put into your body. The more you eat healthy the more you are depositing good health for your future. Remember most diseases or illnesses do not develop over a day of eating the wrong foods, but they are a result of daily deposits of the wrong foods.

Wherever I go I see that there is a debate about whether to eat a vegetarian diets or not. Some people argue and say meat is essential while the Vegetarians disagree. The best thing about the Mediterranean diet is that it involves foods that tend to more or less balance out the views between the meat eaters and the vegetarians.

My advice would be that anybody can stick with this diet since it is neutral. For the meat eaters it is merely about taking out the red meat and Heart healthreplacing it with the lean meat. This can be done in small amounts when you start; You don’t have to eliminate all the red meat at once, All you do is to pace your taste buds until they get use to the Mediterranean diet. I feel the Mediterranean diet can also be used as a bridge for the meat eaters who are looking to convert to a vegetarian diet as quick as possible.

With the vegetarians (vegans, included) it is easier to try implement part of this Mediterranean diet compared to meat eaters. For this group it is easy because they are already eating 80% like the Mediterranean diet so all they need to do is to supplement some nutrients which will have all the nutrients that the lean meats have such as Iron and calcium, You can check my article on the best supplements for heart health that I put up here. There are other foods for vegans or vegetarians that they can eat within their diet to supplement the nutrients that they miss. But supplements I found work good especially if you are too busy to incorporate these foods in your meals. My first advice is whenever you think of supplementing, you must check with your Doctor,because you never know if you are allergic to certain products.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

I have to admit the diet’s benefits outweigh the disadvantages. I will however be talking about both from my personal experience with this Heart healthdiet. The following are the Benefits you will see by adopting this diet.

  • Lighter body- this means that it tends to reduce your body weight. This is good especially for people who are looking to loose a bit of weight without even using any supplements.
  • Clean heart arteries- With the high amount of omega 3 (from fish and olive oil) the diet helps with keeping your heart health at a top-level.
  • Reduced inflammation-The foods in the diet also assist in reducing the inflammation that occurs all around your body.
  • Fresher breath-With the high fiber content in fruits you are sure to maintain your good fresh breath.
  • Fuller-Keeps you fuller throughout the day with the high proteins in the diet.

Shortfalls of the Mediterranean diet

The shortfalls of the diet are as follows:

  • Costly- As with any good investment you do in life you can expect to pay more for these foods. However, there are ways to not kill your bank account by doing a combination of these foods.
  • Supplements- You may still need to do some supplementing especially if you do not get to eat too much fish or poultry

Health nugget for the Mediterranean diet

You may be wondering at this stage whether you are allowed to eat any sweets or chocolates. Well as much you can eat these foods, just keep the eating of such in moderation, rather substitute sweets with fruits especially the ones that will convince your taste buds that you are having something sweet. The following are the foods and goodies you can add in your snacks to indulge on while using this diet:

  • Dark chocolate- Focus on dark chocolates with a cocoa content of more than 70%. The higher the percentage the healthier it is for your Heart healthheart health. You can check a post I made for this information here.
  • Nuts-Nuts are a great way to have a snack since they are easy to carry around, But the best tip is to add your nuts on a dark chocolate, by looking for a chocolate of 70% cocoa with nuts ingredients.
  • Fruits- Carry fruits with you when you go to work or when you are at gym. Fruits are a good way to keep your hunger at bay which will help you not over eat.

I hope this article helped you understand more about the Mediterranean diet to help you boost your heart health. If you have anything to add or any information to share you are welcome to comment below.

 

 

 

 

23 Comments

  • Ralph Cook

    I don’t think a healthy diet has to be an expensive one either. Whats your favorite Mediterranean meal to cook? I’m looking for some inspiration. Thanks!

    • Thabo

      Indeed a Mediterranean diet doesn’t have to be expensive. It is a matter of looking out. I enjoy chicken salad filled with some olives plus some cashews on the side. This meals helps give me energy throughout the day.

  • fintan duggan

    Sounds like a great diet to keep your heart and body healthy, incorporating exercise and reducing stress levels along with this diet of fish, poultry vegetables, fruit and no red meat will go a long way to helping people to live a healthier life.

    • Thabo

      Indeed a good health is a combination of the right diet and the proper exercises. All these factors lead to a great and healthy lifestyle

  • James

    I am in the same camp as Ralph, eating healthy doesn’t have to break your bank account. I live in a predominately Caribbean community and have found many of the ingredients for the Mediterranean diet. If you live near a ethnically diverse or immigrant community, I would definitely suggest checking them out if you are planning to follow this diet. Prices will be cheaper and the quality and freshness a lot better.

    • Thabo

      Thank you James, Wonderful stuff. Your insight will help a lot in getting me more cheaper options, I will check them out. I also know in places like Asia it is cheaper to follow such a diet. Yeah I do agree that the Mediterranean diet doesn’t have to break your bank account,It is all about looking at the right places as you said.

  • Brandon

    I switched to this diet a few years ago and couldn’t be happier I made that decision. I don’t think the costing more thing is just for this diet it seems whenever your try to eat healthier it’s always more expensive so that shouldn’t deters anybody from this diet it’s worht every penny.

    • Thabo

      I hope the diet is working well for you Brandon that is great to hear because it changed my life too. Just like any investment one makes in his/her life you have to pay the price. What is good is that this can benefit you in the future (the health investment you make).

  • Vivi

    Oh my god! this is just my kind of diet, it’s especially great in the summer. I will be in the South of Italy soon and I just can’t wait to learn some good mediterranean recipe!

    • Thabo

      Great stuff. It is so great you going to Italy. I will go there soon too. This is the best time to indulge on the Mediterranean diet indeed.

    • Thabo

      Ha Ha Ha. Of course I believe when eating a diet it must incorporate healthy and enjoyable treats. LOL I am happy you enjoyed the post.

  • Garen

    Hey Thabo,

    It’s good to see that this diet changed your life 8 years ago.

    I have heard of the Mediterranean diet over the years, but never really checked into it much.

    I really do eat a lot of red meat. Possibly I should consider quitting eating red meat, though. However, what do you think are the biggest drawbacks of eating red meat though?

    Also, what about chicken? Is that ok it with the Mediterranean diet?

    Can you give me an example of a what a breakfast would consist of with the Mediterranean diet though? Lastly, maybe an example of what a lunch and dinner would consist of?

    Looking forward to your response.

    • Thabo

      Hi Garen

      Thanx for your comment. The biggest drawbacks about red meat is that it is generally filled with the bad cholesterol which is called Low density lipoprotein (LDL). This cholesterol is responsible for causing the heart arteries to clog over time especially if not balanced with the greens. If you do consume red meat let it be very lean and I mean very lean meat.

      Chicken a white meat and just like fish it has the good cholesterol which is good for your heart. My advice would be to eat it grilled or after you braai it as ther will be less fats.

      Breakfast : Grain cereal with less fat milk. whole wheat bread with spread of peanut butter.
      Lunch:Grilled chicken strips and salad
      Dinner: Tuna with pasta

  • Alison

    I have heard a lot about the Mediterrean diet lately! Nice article and very informative..it doesn’t look like there are many restrictions either. I don’t enjoy working out so I’ve been looking for a good diet I can implement into my life without a lot of restrictions. Thanks and I think I may try it

    • Thabo

      Yeah the Mediterranean diet is not restrictive when compared to other diets. This is why I recommend it to people looking to convert from a meat eating diet to a vegan diet or vegetarian diet.

  • Moni

    Hi Thabo, thank you for a great article.

    I recently started eating the things you suggest without even realising this was called a Mediterranean diet. To me, the word diet conjures up images of people starving themselves to lose weight.

    The Mediterranean diet, as someone has decided to call it, is not really a diet as such but a healthy lifestyle and it’s never too late to change your lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle by eating the right things.

    Great article… keep up the good work!

    • Thabo

      Well said Moni. This is indeed a lifestyle because you have to live it and do it without even thinking about it.
      When it comes to heart health everything should be a lifestyle because taking care of your heart is something that you will have to do it forever.
      Great words you gave there Moni

  • stefanie taylor

    Hey there, I love this post as it is easy to understand and follow. The Mediterranean diet is for sure one if the healthiest and a lot if it is down to all those great fats, olive oil being one of the best. I don’t think you mentioned oily fish/seafood in this article, which is also a huge staple of the Mediterranean diet and another reason why it is super healthy.
    Luckily, as a plant based eater I pretty much incorporate a lot if these foods already and it’s good to know I can still eat my much loved dark chocolate!
    Thanks for all your advice 🙂

    • Thabo

      Great feedback Stefanie. Indeed seafood is part of the mediterean diet and infact it is the main food there.
      I am happy you are eating healthy already as this will keep you living for longer as your heart is constantly taken care of.
      Dark chocolate is my best food choice in this diet too. 😉

  • Ravi

    Hey buddy,

    Great article. Honestly I never knew that the arteries can unclog if you eat the proper foods.

    This is awesome news for most people! I am vegetarian and I work out. So I use tofu, whey protein and paneer (cottage cheese) for protein.

    Would something like this be heart healthy and in line with a Mediterranean Diet? I also use fruits, lots of veggies, peanut butter (not too much).

    Thanks,

    Ravi

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