Do you want to live a life free from Heart Disease? Would you like to have someone you love reduce their chances of having heart disease. Are you interested in heart disease prevention?
If you answered “yes” to either of these two questions then you should consider adopting the Mediterranean Diet.
Medical studies have shown again and again the virtues of following the Mediterranean Diet as far as reducing your risk of getting heart disease or suffering a heart attack. A medical study in the Archives of Internal Medicine in May of 2005, looked at over 1,302 Greek men and women who were followed for 3.78 years to examine how critical it was to follow the diet closely.
Those people who had closely followed the diet had a 27% reduction in death when compared to people who didn’t follow the diet closely. Heart disease prevention was proven by following this healthy heart diet. Stress and chest pain are also linked. People who follow this diet reduce their chest pain.
Not long ago I was going through the diet of a man in his 60’s who had suffered a heart attack. I had been seeing him for over seven years. Each visit I encouraged him to follow the Mediterranean Diet. On his last visit I asked him to tell me everything he had eaten in the last week. I was shocked to discover that he was eating ice cream nearly everyday.
I asked him, “Haven’t I talked to you numerous times about the importance of following the Mediterranean Diet?”
A sheepish look, crossed his face. “Yes, you’ve told me that. But I love ice cream.”
“And his beef,” his wife who was sitting in the corner added. “He likes beef and cheese.”
A closer look at his diet revealed that he had changed from eating beef daily to 3-4 times per week. He still ate bacon, ham sandwiches, and pizza. I had a hard time understanding how someone who knew they had heart trouble wouldn’t take the time to follow the proper diet.
It seems that many people don’t understand that their diet is the key culprit that is causing their heart disease. Even after their doctor tells them over and over, it is hard for people to understand that 2 + 2 equals 4. If you have heart disease then something is going haywire in your body that is causing the buildup of cholesterol deposits inside your arteries.
Let me make it clear “this is not normal.” In cultures that follow the mediterranean diet, or the asian diet- heart disease is very rare. Studies from different cultures have shown conclusively that our Western diet is the culprit in the formation of coronary heart disease. Strict vegetarians who don’t consume animal products or highly processed foods seldom develop heart blockages. In the indigenous cultures of South America, Africa, or Australia heart disease rarely occurs. These cultures eat mostly fruit and vegetables and rarely consume meat.
So when you know that what you eat is very important for preventing heart disease, it is critical that you become extremely diligent about following this diet. The key thing is to adopt the diet and then become religious in following its rules. One thing I commonly tell my patients is to follow the 90/10 rule. By this I mean that you need to be eating foods that are consistent with Mediterranean eating over 90% of the time. Only 10% of the time should you be straying off the path of good eating. So try very hard to limit your red meat consumption to no more than 1-2 meals a month! Yes, I said only 1-2 meals per month.
Here are the rules you need to follow on the Mediterranean Diet if you want to reduce your chances of developing coronary heart disease.
Rule #1: Consume a high percentage of fish. Eating fish 3-5 times a week is good. be careful about the type of fish you eat. Some fish can be high in mercury.
Rule#2: Avoid saturated fat. This is the fat that comes from animal products: beef, most pork, high fat dairy products.
Rule#3: Consume nuts daily. Walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia’s- are great. But most nuts are good.
Rule#4: Load up on fruits and vegetables. Avoid high glycemic carbohydrates and eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
Rule#5: Put uncooked olive oil into your eating plan. Try to eat 3 tablespoons of uncooked olive oil every day.
Rule#6: Avoid processed foods of all types. Anything that comes in a package should be avoided.
Rule#7: Adopt a Mediterranean carefree attitude. It is clear that stress is a culprit in heart disease. If you’re someone who worries a great deal you need to find ways to combat your stress by learning stress relieving techniques.
If you adopt and follow these 7 important rules and learn heart healthy living, you’ll stand a good chances of preventing heart disease.
Your life will also be healthier. And you’ll even feel better.
Remember: Live longer. Follow the Mediterranean Diet.