Eating a nutritious diet is important to improving your heart health. Pohley Richey, a registered dietitian and health coach with Saltzer Health, says that the Mediterranean diet is one way to minimize processed foods and sugar while increasing fiber in your daily meals.
The diet has evolved over the last 5,000 years in the Mediterranean region, she said.“It really came into popularity in the 1960s when people from the region were studied and shown to
have a lower incidence of heart disease,” Richey said.The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people have eaten for generations in Italy,
Greece and other Mediterranean countries with an emphasis on:
• Whole, unprocessed, natural foods
• Less sugar
• Local, seasonal fruits and vegetables
• Whole grains
• Heart healthy fats like nuts, olive oil, and other seeds
• Protein from legumes, lentils, chickpeas, and seafood
“It’s not necessarily about a specific food per se but about this overall style of eating,” Richey said. Research has shown that the diet promotes wellness and decreases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic conditions.