More on the Mediterranean Diet for heart health.

Rehabilitate Your Heart

The recent study on the Mediterranean diet decreasing the risk of heart attack is all over the news and the emphasis seems to be on eating healthy fats and nuts. To me that is important but don’t overlook the vegetables.  The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains which provide good sources of fiber.

While working in cardiac rehabilitation I regularly reviewed patients diets. One very consistent issue was lack of eating enough dietary fiber. Many do not get adequate intake of vegetables, legumes and seeds. It wasn’t uncommon for a significant other to shake their head and report their loved one never eats vegetables, or if they do it is only one or two types, such as corn, and carrots. When discussing intakes of legumes, you would see many look at you with that what is she talking about face. I don’t want heart patients to think of…

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Mediterranean Diet

Fresh vegetarian pasta (2528005054)

Fresh vegetarian pasta (2528005054) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A randomized, multicenter trial conducted in Spain found that a Mediterranean diet resulted in a reduction in the incidence of major cardiovascular (CV) events and a 30 percent relative risk reduction in major CV events over a 4.8-year follow-up period.

The trial results were published on Feb. 25 in The New England Journal of Medicine. The PREDIMED (Preventión con Dieta Mediterránea) trial compared the consumption of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts vs. a control diet among 7,447 individuals at high risk of CV disease (CVD) but with no CVD at enrollment. Individuals in the trial had either type 2 diabetes or at least three of seven major CV risk factors — smoking, hypertension, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, were overweight or obese, or had a family history of premature coronary heart disease.

Results showed the group of participants assigned to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil had 96 primary endpoint events (a composite of myocardial infarction, stroke and death from cardiovascular causes), those assigned to a Mediterranean diet supplemented by mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) had 83 events and the control group had 109 events (p = 0.015). The Mediterranean diets resulted in an absolute risk reduction of three major CV events per 1,000 person-years.

A traditional Mediterranean diet consists of high amounts of olive oil, fruit, vegetables, nuts and cereals; moderate amounts of fish and poultry; and low amounts of dairy products, sweets, red meats and processed meats. Participants assigned to the Mediterranean diet groups significantly increased weekly servings of fish and legumes, as well as olive oil and nuts, depending on the group they were in.

According to the study authors, the results of the trial might explain, in part, CV mortality rates among Mediterranean countries compared with mortality rates in northern European countries and the U.S. They note that the dietary supplements of extra-virgin olive oil and nuts were possibly responsible for most of the observed benefits of the Mediterranean diets.

From CardioSource – Mediterranean Diet Major CV Events.  The original link also includes a video

Recipe: Low-Sodium Chicken Piccata

Adapted from The DASH Diet Action Plan: Proven to Boost Weight Loss and Improve Health (A DASH Diet Book)

We had this last night and DH really liked it. I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand and my car is still out of commission so I made a few changes 🙂

Original Recipe:

Chicken Breast, no skin, 16 ounces
Yellow Cornmeal, .5 cup
Lemon pepper 1 tbsp
Low-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup
Olive Oil, 1 tbsp
Lemon Juice, 2 tbsp
Butter, unsalted, 2 tbsp

Directions

Preheat broth over medium heat.
pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch think.
Mex cornmeal and pepper on a plate and dip chicken in it. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat add chicken and cook for 4 minutes on each side until brown. Remove from pan and keep warm.
Add lemon juice and hot chicken broth to skillet, scraping the pan. Reduce heat to medium, stir in butter. Return chicken to skillet and cook for 3 minutes until done. Serve immediately.

Serving Size: 4 4oz servings

Number of Servings: 4

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 287
Total Fat: 12 g
Cholesterol: 82 mg
Sodium: 94 mg
Total Carbs: 20 g
Protein 28 g
Potassium: 299 mg


My Version:

Chicken Breast, no skin, 16 ounces, cut into thin slices
Mss. Dash Original, 1 tbsp
Low-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup
Olive Oil, 1 tbsp
Lime Juice, 2 tbsp (note change lemon to lime)
Butter, unsalted, 1 tbsp

Directions

Preheat broth over medium heat.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat add lime juice, Mrs. Dash and chicken broth to skillet, scraping the pan. Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes on each side until brown.  Reduce heat to medium, stir in butter.
Serve immediately.

Number of Servings: 6