May is National Mediterranean Diet Month and that means it’s time to make healthy fresh dishes. The Mayo Clinic calls the Mediterranean Diet a “heart-healthy” diet because the fresh vegetables and olive oil central to the diet are associated with a lower level of “bad” cholesterol that narrows arteries and contributes to heart disease.
The diet boasts, even more, health benefits. The Mayo Clinic says that an analysis of 1.5 million healthy adults eating the Mediterranean Diet showed that it is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality as well as overall mortality. It’s important for seniors to have a well-balanced lifestyle, including balanced care diets. Other benefits include a reduced incidence of:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
The fresh, healthy foods that lead to better health include:
- Whole grains
- Legumes (like lentils) and nuts
- Olive oil and canola oil rather than butter
- Using herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of salt
- Eating red meat no more than a few times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
Here is a fresh new recipe for heart health from the Mediterranean diet:
Mediterranean Shrimp and Pasta
Makes 4 servings
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Cooking spray
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 cups chopped plum tomato
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1/3 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups hot cooked angel hair pasta (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.
- Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds.
- Add shrimp; sauté 1 minute.
- Add tomato and basil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until tomato is tender.
- Stir in kalamata olives, capers, and black pepper.
- Combine shrimp mixture and pasta in a large bowl; toss well.
- Top with cheese.
What do you eat as a part of your heart-healthy diet? Share your favorite recipes with us! Check out another fun heart healthy recipe for your aging loved one!