Protect Your Heart with a Mediterranean Eating Plan
A plant-based Mediterranean eating plan has been shown to protect against heart disease. Recent research indicates that it may even counteract the harmful effects of abdominal obesity on cardiovascular health.
The results of the study indicate that participants with the highest waist-to-height ratios were at increased risk for cardiovascular events in the control diet group, but not among those in the Mediterranean Diet group. The same results were found for body mass index and waist circumference.
What does this mean?
By adopting a Mediterranean eating plan, those with abdominal obesity may be able to reduce their risk for cardiovascular events – with or without significant weight loss.
Given these results, let’s review the Mediterranean eating plan.
A Mediterranean eating plan:
- Focuses on plant-based foods including seasonal vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains.
- Emphasizes healthy fats including olive oil and fats found in nuts such as almonds. Saturated fats should be replaced with mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
- Encourages only small amounts of meats, and emphasizes protein sources such as nuts, beans, eggs, poultry and fish.
- Uses very little salt, and focuses on seasoning foods with herbs and spices like garlic, oregano and cinnamon.
- Recommends dairy products in moderation, including plain or Greek yogurt and cheeses such as feta and Parmesan.
- Encourages other aspects of the Mediterranean lifestyle – be physically active, social and share meals with family and friends.
Try this Mediterranean inspired Quinoa Salad (makes 8 servings)
Prep Time: 15 mins. Cook Time: 20 mins.
- 2 cups water
- 2 cubes chicken bouillon
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 large cooked chicken breasts – cut into bite size pieces
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Bring the water, bouillon cubes, and garlic to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the garlic clove and scrape the quinoa into a large bowl.
Gently stir the chicken, onion, bell pepper, olives, feta cheese, parsley, chives, and salt into the quinoa. Drizzle with the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Stir until evenly mixed. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.