Heart disease is one of the top killer diseases worldwide where 30% or approximately 17 million people all over the world suffer from this condition. One could be genetically predisposed but almost 80% of the total cases are attributed to unhealthy lifestyle practices.

Your heart is the major pumping organ of the body that supplies oxygen and other nutrients into the cells and carries away carbon dioxide and other waste products. The heart continues its job even when you are sleeping and only gets some rest for a fraction of a second between beats. It has a typical lifespan of 76 years, beats 2.8 billion times and moves 169 liters of blood. Now, that is one tough job for such a small organ.

There are various diseases of the heart but perhaps the most common among all of this is coronary heart disease which is caused by atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty material or plaque in the arteries which then results to abnormal blood flow. Atherosclerosis can be due to obesity, smoking, high-blood pressure or diabetes. Heart disease could be caused by malfunction in the valves; irregular heart rhythms termed as arhythmias or could be acquired congenitally (since birth).

Keep your heart fit, strong and free from diseases with a Mediterranean diet. This type of diet plan gained its reputation due to the multiple benefits you get against common and the not-so-common diseases in a delicious way!

Following a Mediterranean diet lies primarily in eating lots of fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Fats are also part of the diet but it is the healthy fat type that you get to eat.

Here are the prime components of Mediterranean diet that are proven to enhance your cardiovascular mortality as well as disease prevention.

1. Olive oil – is the key ingredient in Mediterranean diet. This oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fats which help lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as the “bad” cholesterol, while increasing the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or the “good” cholesterol in the body making it good for the heart. Aside from the “good” cholesterol, it also has antioxidants that help get rid of free radicals in the body that causes cancer.

2. Fruits and vegetables – in the Mediterranean diet pyramid, fruits and vegetables are the ones which have to be consumed most. They contain essential vitamins and minerals that are helpful to the body, not to mention, that fiber and antioxidants preventing cancer.

3. Fish – in the Mediterranean diet, it is preferred to have more white meat, particularly fish and other seafood than red meat. Fish such as salmon and tuna contains omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat which helps lower cholesterol level. It is suggested that you include at least two servings of fish every week in your menu to keep yourself away from unwanted heart diseases.

4. Wine – some say that alcohol is bad for health but studies show that alcohol taken in moderation is beneficial to your fitness. The Mediterranean diet includes two to three glasses of red wine with meals because it has flavonoid phenolics that help prevent the risk of heart disease by increasing the level of HDL cholesterol and preventing blood clotting.

Why wait for an ailment struck you when you can actually prevent it? Life is short so make the most out of it. Don’t let heart disease stop you from doing great things in life. The key to a healthy and long lasting healthy heart is easy, not to mention delicious, through the Mediterranean diet.

…stay well,

Ray Baker