The Heart-Healthy Mediterranean Diet of a Cardiologist

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How to keep the heart healthy
How to keep the heart healthy with the right diet

Are you looking for how to keep your heart healthy or how to improve your heart health?  Did you know deaths from heart disease are the number 1 killer in the U.S.

?  That’s why heart health is so important.

We are going to look at how to improve heart health naturally.

Have you considered what is the best diet and foods to eat in relation to heart health?  In fact, foods might actually play a big role in the health of your heart as we will see.   So what is a healthy heart diet?

A Cardiologist Eats a Meditteranean Diet

A cardiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Kerrilynn C. Hennessey, MD, might have an answer for you on what that healthy heart diet is.  She’s studied the heart and all the studies about heart health, and she chooses to eat the Mediterranean diet at every meal of the day.

She says she follows a mostly plant-based diet, and so has chosen the Mediterranean Diet, a form of the plant-based diet.  She does it wholeheartedly (no pun intended), eating it at every meal of the day.  Not just one meal a day or every once in a while.

She so strongly believes in it, that she eats this way at every meal.  She makes sure to eat a heart-healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner every day by doing the Mediterranean diet all day long.

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Why She Believes It’s the Healthiest Way to Eat for the Heart

As a cardiologist, and thus a medical expert on the heart, she has seen a 2018 study that showed an increase in animal protein, but not vegetable protein, contributed to heart failure.  This is not a surprise, as Dr. Colin Campbell found animal protein to be detrimental to health, causing more than just heart disease.  And Harvard Medical has come to similar conclusions.

She also seeks to cut out red meat as much as possible.  She has seen all the evidence that links it to higher rates of heart disease.  Dr. Hennessey also says that the Mediterranean diet has continuously been shown in studies to lower mortality rates, compared to eating diets with higher intakes of red meat.

She reports eating avocados and nuts on an almost daily basis, the same as I like to do.  Nuts for example are eaten a lot in the healthy Blue Zone diets.  Staples for her are beans and olive oil, which are exactly what our family staples are as well.  And beans are most definitely a staple for Blue Zones diets.

My Thoughts On Her Heart-Healthy Mediterranean Diet

I do think this is a good diet for a beginner growing into eating a more plant-based diet, as she makes some allowances for minimal amounts of meat.  For most people, I would say this is the easiest way for them to get started in a more plant-based way of eating.

The studies absolutely point to an increased risk of heart disease and other diseases from consuming meat and animal products.  I think she is definitely on point with her diet plan of eating less meat and more plants in order to improve heart health.

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I would say that ultimately it would be even better to eat no or very little meat or dairy products.  So the lower we can get animal-based foods, the better for our health and environment.  That is what truly mimics the “real” Mediterranean diet, which was basically no meat at all. (See the post on The Real Mediterranean Diet)

(Or watch The Real Mediterranean Diet on YouTube here)

Heart-Healthy Plant-Based Foods

As we have seen, the plant-based diet contains many heart-healthy foods.  These foods contain tons of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants that are all great for heart health, and for lowering the risk of heart disease.

In the post at Heart Healthy Plant-Based Foods I cover what a lot of these heart healthy foods are.

Heart-Healthy Plant-Based Meals & Recipes

For a look at some of the heart-healthy plant-based meals I recommend and that we like to eat, along with links to recipes, visit the post Heart-Healthy Plant-Based Meals & Recipes.

Final Thoughts

To improve heart health, make sure to eat a Whole Food Plant Based Diet.  This could be a plant-based Mediterranean diet as Dr. Hennessey does, but it doesn’t have to be.  Some people like the Ornish diet, however, any WFPB diet should work. 

Try to incorporate some of the plant-based foods mentioned in the Heart Healthy Plant-Based Foods.

Also try to stay active, get exercise, get enough sleep, quit smoking, cope with stress correctly, and minimize alcohol consumption, all things which also help with heart health.

The original article from Well and Good – ‘I’m a Cardiologist, and This Is What I Eat Every Day for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner’

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