Mediterranean Diet Prevents Vascular Disease
Research by Harvard Medical School reported in the May and July issues of the Harvard Heart Letter continues to affirm a Mediterranean style diet with olive oil as the major source of fat, abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and moderate amounts of cheese and wine while limiting red meat and processed meats is a proven way to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
A know factor for vascular disease is saturated fat found in red meat, pork, whole milk, butter and cheese. Saturated fat increase blood cholesterol more than dietary cholesterol found in eggs, meat and diary.
All fats have some saturated fat. By limiting red meat, butter and whole milk you can significantly reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Adding more fish to your diet, especially fish high in heart healthy omega-3 fats like salmon, trout and sardines, is a start.
Americans eat too much saturated fat and some restaurants are proud serving high fat foods. One national chain restaurant has a hamburger loaded with bacon and cheese called the Widow Maker Burger.
Fats give many foods the taste people crave and I’ll admit I like fried foods, pizza and hamburgers. But, in moderation. Pizzas do not need a pound of cheese to taste good. Foods fried properly in vegetable or oil oil should be eaten in moderation. The same applies to red meat and processed meats. A occasional 16 ounce steak is OK for a special occasion, nut not on a regular basis. The typical serving size is 4 ounces. More and more restaurants are serving 1/3 and 1/2 pound hamburgers. Hamburger meat can contain 20 percent or more fat for flavor and moistness before adding cheese and sauces. So it is not uncommon for a hamburger having 1,000 calories or more without fried potatoes.
Some suggestions for eating a Mediterranean diet:.
1. Replace breads, cereals and crackers made with refined white flour with a piece of fruits or cut up raw vegetables.
2. Substitute whole grain quinoa for white rice.
3. Limit consumption of diary products; eggs, milk and cheese.
4. Substitute olive oil (regular or extra virgin) for vegetable oils.
5. Substitute salmon burgers for beef hamburgers.
6. Substitute puddings or custards for ice cream.
7. Substitute white bread and rolls for whole grain, breads, rolls and tortillas.