The Traditional Mediterranean Diet is characterized by:

– A high intake of monounsaturated fats including olive oil, nuts & seeds including walnuts instead of saturated fats such as butter and hydrogenated margarines & shortening
– Plant-based foods including a variety of vegetables
– Plant-based proteins including legumes such as chick peas, kidney beans, & lentils – Whole grains such as barley, rice, pasta
– Greater frequency of fish consumption, in particular, omega-3 rich fish including salmon
– Moderate intake of alcohol, specifically red wine (max. 5oz for women, 10oz for men)
– Low consumption of red meat, refined grains, salt, and sweets

Many studies from around the world have found the Mediterranean diet to inversely link with heart-related deaths and lower overall mortality! This means, following this type of dietary pattern is linked to lower overall deaths including those from heart disease. An analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following this type of diet was associated with reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases! Impressive! In addition, in obese individuals, this type of eating pattern is more effective in promoting weight loss and lowering cholesterol than a low fat diet! Did you know that consuming more whole grains (such as

 

Did you know...

Did you know that consuming more whole grains (such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, 100% whole grain pasta) is linked to 20-30% lower risk of developing heart disease! That’s just one simple switch that you can make to your diet to significantly lower your overall risk of the leading cause of death in Canada!

There really is no one star of the show! Although omega-3 rich fish come close! Omega-3 fish is one of the many important components of the Mediterranean Diet! The richest sources of omega-3 fish include atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, sardines, mackerel, anchiovies. In fact, increasing your fish intake, choosing more legumes as a meat substitute, and lowering your red meat intake to a few times per month significantly lowers your overall risk of developing this deadly disease!

Despite other foods containing omega-3 such as flaxseed, flaxseed oil, chiaseed, & hemp, they are just not the same as consuming your omega-3 from fish! The body needs to convert their plant-based omega-3 (ALA) into a form that the body can use (EPA & DHA) and it does this very poorly. Consuming these powerhouse seeds is worthwhile and should be included as part of a heart-healthy diet but not as effective as omega-3 rich fish. To learn more about which fish are the best sources of Omega-3, link here to Leslie Beck’s recent article in the Globe and Mail http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-andfitness/health/which-type-of-salmon-contains-the-most-nutrients/article28376378/

Quick Tips to Eat The Mediterranean Way:

– Kick up your fibre and nutrient intake with a variety of vegetables and fruits: remember that half of your plate should be filled with at least 2 types of vegetables at your mealtimes
– Switch to 100% whole grains and explore new whole grains such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat and barley! – Include unsalted nuts such as walnuts and almonds daily as a healthy snack but keep the portions small! No more than 1oz or 1-2 tbsp per day!
– Eat more fish and limit your red meat to less than 1X per week: choose naturally oil fish rich in omega-3 including salmon, trout, sardines, and cod (to name a few)
– Use olive oil but in small amounts and limit saturated fats such as butter!
– Cook using lower fat cooking methods and avoid frying, deep frying
– limit salt during/after cooking and enjoy fresh herbs and no salt herb/spice mixtures – Include lower fat dairy products such as 0% plain greek yogurt, skim milk, and lower fat cheeses