Mediterranean Diet for High Blood Pressure

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The Mediterranean diet can decrease high blood pressure because olive oil is used as the primary source of fat, lots of plant foods are incorporated into many Mediterranean meals, and Mediterranean meats are generally quite lean. Research the Mediterranean diet with information from a registered and licensed dietitian in this free video on healthy eating.

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Video Transcript

My name is Christine Marquette and I'm a registered and licensed dietitian with Marquette Nutrition and Fitness and I'm going to talk to you about how you would use the Mediterranean diet to help treat high blood pressure. There has been a lot of interest in using the Mediterranean diet to treat high blood pressure because in general people who live in the Mediterranean tend to have a much lower rate of high blood pressure than people in the United States. Now there really isn't just one Mediterranean diet. There are several different countries technically that actually boarder the Mediterranean Sea. They all have some similarities in how they eat but they are not exactly the same so in this country the way we practice the Mediterranean diet is basically to take the most common aspects of how those different countries generally eat and call it the Mediterranean diet. So the most common aspects are to use olive oil as a primary source of fat. It is a monounsaturated fat that has been shown to help with overall heart health and it can lower cholesterol and it may have a benefit on lowering blood pressure as well. So that's one of the key components. The other is using lots of plant foods, lots of fruits and vegetables. As far as starches, whole grains, only whole grains, no refined products so that means using things like wheat bread, oatmeal, beans, other types of legumes but avoiding refined products. So avoiding white bread, avoiding sugary cereals that type of thing. One thing that is different also with the Mediterranean diet versus a traditional dash diet for lowering blood pressure is that the amount of fat is much higher in the Mediterranean diet. Again it is primarily monounsaturated fat but it is a much higher percentage of the overall diet so that is one big difference between the Mediterranean diet and the dash diet eating plan. The other thing is the choice of meats in the Mediterranean diet is primarily very lean sources of meats, a lot of fish, very very high intake of fish, much higher intake than a traditional North American diet so the primary aspects again are very high monounsaturated fats, the use of olive and actual olives, avocados, nuts, seeds, the use of a high amount of fruits and vegetables and meat being primarily from fish with small amounts coming from poultry and lean cuts of beef. So those are some of the key aspects of using the Mediterranean diet to help lower blood pressure.

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