LIFESTYLE

Mediterranean Diet Is Best For Your Heart (PICTURES)

13/06/2013 09:34 BST | Updated 04/07/2013 08:42 BST
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There's a lot of information flying around on the internet as to the best diet for your heart. New draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises people who've survived a heart attack or have heart disease issues that the best type of diet for them is the Mediterranean diet. This includes more bread, vegetables, fruit and fish, and less meat. The institute also advises that butter and cheese be kept to a minimum and be replaced with plant oils.

When more than three tablespoons of butter is consumed a day, it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease because it raises levels of bad cholesterol.

If the guidance comes into force, heart attack victims also may no longer be advised to eat oily fish to prevent them from having another heart attack. NICE suggests that the impact an oily fish diet may have on preventing further heart attacks or strokes "could be minimal".

A NICE spokesman said: "New evidence shows that the risk of further cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes, is very different today because of the new treatments that are now available.

"This means that any impact an oily fish diet may have on preventing further heart attacks or strokes could be minimal. The draft guideline does, however, continue to recommend that people who have had a heart attack eat a Mediterranean-style diet."

A typical Mediterranean diet includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains - these make up the core of the diet. You can use herbs and spices as a replacement for salt to flavour food, and instead of butter, olive oil and canola oil is best.

Fish and seafood should be eaten at least twice a week, while eggs and chicken can be eaten in moderation on a weekly basis. Red meat and sweets should be limited to a few times a month.

A Typical Mediterranean Menu from Good Housekeeping:

Breakfast: Fluffy Pancakes

Lunch: Chickpea salad

Snack: Crackers and dip

Dinner: Chicken kebabs

Total calories: 1,469

If you're used to butter with your bread, replace it with olive oil instead (choose a good quality one), and make sure that you're getting antioxidant rich foods. Summer is a great time to start because of all the berries coming into season.

The new draft guidance also attempts to ensure that more patients take up cardiac rehabilitation programmes after a heart attack.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says that there around 103,000 heart attacks in the UK each year.

Nice estimates that there are around one million men and half a million women in the UK who have suffered from a heart attack.