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Best Foods for the Mediterranean Diet – WJHG





A Cleveland Clinic survey finds 52% of Americans have tried a heart healthy diet in the past year but only about 5% have tried the Mediterranean diet, often considered the



CLEVELAND CLINIC– A Cleveland Clinic survey finds 52% of Americans have tried a heart healthy diet in the past year but only about 5% have tried the Mediterranean diet, often considered the ‘gold standard’ of heart healthy diets.

But what foods are best in this diet? Cleveland Clinic put some of the key ingredients head to head.

The Mediterranean diet is based on foods from plant sources, minimally processed foods, olive oil, fish and poultry, low-fat dairy and seasonally fresh produce – but dieticians are often asked, ‘what’s best?’

Olive oil is a primary source of fat in the Mediterranean diet but there are several kinds. Should you go with light, virgin, or extra virgin olive oil? Registered dietician Julia Zumpano said, “Extra virgin olive oil is the best choice. It’s less processed. It’s fresh picked olives that are squeezed and the oil is extracted and cold pressed, so it makes it with the highest nutritional content.”

Fish and poultry are recommended over red meat as part of the Mediterranean diet. If you’re trying to decide between the two, it’s fish that gets a TKO when it comes to your heart. “Omega-3 fatty fish have been proven to be most beneficial because of the omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help with blood pressure and swelling as well as lowering triglycerides, keeping the lining of your arteries a little more smooth,” said Zumpano.

Nuts, beans, seeds, and cheese are all featured in the Mediterranean diet but if you’re topping a salad – what’s the best choice for your heart?

Beans, nuts, and seeds are the knockout choices here. According to Zumpano, “Beans or nuts are preferred over cheese and cheese is still acceptable in moderation but we’re trying to move away from using food sources that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.”

When it comes to nuts, Zumpano said almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts have shown the strongest cardiovascular benefit. She usually recommends 1 ounce per day, which is about an average sized closed handful.

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