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Healthy Living Center

For a heart healthy diet, limit red meat and bring on the olive oil, fruits, and nuts.

If you're looking for a heart-healthy meal plan, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you. The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating, according to a major study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The health effects of a Mediterranean diet have been studied extensively in the last 10 years.

How can this diet help in preventing or controlling diabetes?
Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program study showed that if people at risk for type 2 diabetes lost weight and became
more active for three years, they could prevent or delay the disease.

Key components of the Mediterranean diet

  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Replace butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Drink red wine in moderation (optional)

Fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains

The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes fruits, vegetables, pasta and rice. Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat, but most of the fat is unsaturated. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts. A handful a day is suggested. For the best nutrition, avoid candied, honey roasted or heavily salted nuts. Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and contain very few unhealthy trans fats.

Bread is an important part of the diet there. However, throughout the Mediterranean region, bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil. It is not eaten with butter or margarines, which contain saturated or trans fats.

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