Happy Heart Health Month! In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, but it is also one of the most preventable illnesses. Knowledge is power when it comes to avoiding heart disease. Knowing your family health history, managing your risk factors, having regular checkups and working with your doctor to make heart-healthy decisions are all beneficial in maintaining a healthy heart and preventing heart disease.

Making Heart-Healthy Choices In Your Diet

Over the past few years, heart-healthy eating has become a trend for people wanting to maintain health and wellness and making heart-healthy choices. By making changes in your lifestyle, including your eating habits, you may reduce your risk for heart disease. This is where plant-based diets come in. Mediterranean diets include whole, unprocessed foods, and the majority of the diet consists of fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains and nuts and seeds. One of the most popular diets is the Mediterranean diet. This diet includes a Mediterranean style of eating that reflects the dietary traditions of the countries that surround the Mediterranean, including fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, olive oil and fish.

The Mediterranean diet has been around for more than 50 years and continues to grow in popularity because it has resisted the modern take on foods and drinks in industrialized countries. The original pyramid for the diet was based on traditions of Crete, Greece and southern Italy in 1960. This was a time where chronic illnesses were at a low around the world and life expectancy was at its highest. Other than the food, other vital elements of this diet include daily exercise and portion control. The diet underwent some changes in 2008 after new research came out regarding the diet. The pyramid update included herbs and spices, for health and taste. The new pyramid also included more fish, because it was noted that eating fish and shellfish at least two times per week was beneficial.

Getting started with this diet doesn’t have to be challenging. The following steps can help you follow the Mediterranean style of eating.

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. This will increase the flavor in your meals and create a balanced plate.
  • Make meat the side dish and not your main meal. Meat can be an important part of the dish, but it doesn’t have to be the main component of the meal.
  • Use dairy in moderation. Use Greek or plain yogurt with some fresh fruit.
  • Eat moderate, up to 3.5 ounces per serving, amounts of seafood two times a week. Spice up the fish with herbs and spices and bake it in the oven for an easy meal solution.
  • Eat unsaturated fats in moderation. Some examples include extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, olives and avocados.
  • Use whole grains like bulgur, barley, brown rice and quinoa in your favorite dishes.
  • Eat fruit for dessert! You can create an easy, healthy dessert option by serving a fresh fruit compote at the end of your meal.

There are some great options for meals that follow the Mediterranean diet on Publix.com. This Chicken Primavera With Parmesan Pasta is a great meal if you love chicken and want a filling option. The pasta and vegetables work together to create a beautiful blend of color and taste. If you are craving fish try this recipe for Lemony Fish and Tomatoes With Minty Green Beans. The fish is seasoned with lemon and garlic to create a nice flavor combination. In both of these recipes, the protein plays a secondary role to the rest of the dish and how the meal is made.

 

Let us know what you’re doing for Heart Health Month on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We would love to hear your heart-healthy recipes!

*Always consult with your physician before changing your diet.

Jackie J.

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Jackie J. became a Publix associate in 2017 after deciding to take her love of food to the next level. She began working with the Social Media team at that time and she immediately fell in love with life at Publix. In her spare time, she bakes to relax and creates yummy morsels for friends and family to munch on. When she isn’t working, you can probably find her playing with her cat and dog (Nila and Oreo), at a theme park or watching a Harry Potter Movie Marathon.

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