The Mediterranean Diet for Vital Aging

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 8– 1/21/15

You are what you eat, they say.  Ahh, the infamous “they,” who know all and make sure they let the rest of us know it!  In Bea’s case, she must resemble a 12-grain bagel with cream cheese on the side – since she has that for breakfast almost every day, along with a cuppa famous Tim Horton’s coffee.  (She’s gotten better about breakfast lately – she adds some protein along with berries or some other kind of fruit.  Anyway, “they,” along with a lot of health experts out there, highly recommend the Mediterranean diet.

Eating that way can reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s, and it’s a great way to enhance our heart health.  The food variety in the Mediterranean diet helps fight off **free radicals** with antioxidants and phytochemicals contained in plant-based foods, as well as the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish.

  • Enjoy lean poultry, fish, (wild salmon, haddock, tuna, perch, snapper) and beans
  • Use vinegar and olive oil as salad dressing – choose herbs, rather than salt, to flavor it. Replace butter with olive oil.
  • Munch on (raw) nuts in moderation – nuts are a prime source of antioxidants. A 10-year study of over 85,000 women ages 35 – 59 concluded that eating nuts lowered their risk of heart disease, because they help lower bad cholesterol.*
  • Learn to love green, leafy vegetables, cruciferous veggies, sweet potatoes, and whole-grains
  • Stay hydrated with water. Drink green tea for its antioxidant properties.
  • Nosh on a wide variety of fruits, especially berries of all kinds: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, black berries.
  • Add avocado to salads, or on a sandwich instead of cheese.  Avocados have high amounts of the monounsaturated fat, oleic acid, also found in olive oil.*
  • Enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner. It contains resveratrol, which can be heart healthy. (Don’t like red wine?  Try red or purple grape juice or just eat grapes).

Enjoy further reading:

Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan

How to Follow the Mediterranean Diet

Source:

*VanTine, Julia, & Doherty, Bridget. Growing Younger – Breakthrough Age-Defying Secrets. Rodale Press.

**Question of the day:**  What the heck are free radicals, anyway?  Find out by reading Bea’s post on Friday, January 23. 

 

Stop Breaking your Heart

February is Heart Health Month!

Sure, your heart can be broken, leaving you sad and blue. Some studies say that you can even die from a broken heart! Check out this article from the American Heart Association: Is Broken Heart Syndrome Real?

English: Broken heart sewn back together

English: Broken heart sewn back together (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Our view tends to be that our brain is home to thought and logic, our heart is home to our feelings. Even the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz knew that as intelligent as he was, he was only half a man without a heart to call his own. He was willing to risk having his heart broken, because he knew that it would make him appreciate happiness even more.  

Then there’s the physical equivalent of a broken heart.

Our heart is unarguably the most important muscle in our body, pumping blood to our brain and other organs day and night. We take it for granted. Yet, over half of the deaths in the U.S. are caused by heart disease. As you probably know, heart disease is actually made up of a variety of diseases, including heart attack, coronary heart disease, and atrial fibrillation, to name a few.  

Many of the diseases that lead to our broken hearts are preventable. We can make simple lifestyle changes, in fact, to manage our heart’s health. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute provides some ideas in their article, How to Prevent and Control Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors. 

Bea Boomer thinks heart health is important because, well, she only has one of  ’em – there’s no spare heart sitting around in a closet somewhere, ticking away and collecting dust. And she wants to live a life of vim, vigor and vitality; which means she needs to do all she can to keep that heart muscle pumping. 

And finally, heart health is close to her “heart” because her mom suffered from heart disease and high blood pressure, which led to heart attacks and strokes as she aged.  Not a good way to live out her “golden years.”

For Further Reading: 

Resources from the Mended Hearts website

CDC – Heart Disease Facts http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

Why African-Americans are at a Greater Risk for Heart Disease