Mediterranean Diet Defined: Fruit and Nuts

Mediterranean Diet consists fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts

Mediterranean Diet consists fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts

If you were to compile what constitutes the most important ingredients of a Mediterranean diet, you will most certainly find whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, protein-rich legumes and liberal use of extra virgin olive oil in all facets of cooking.

The Mediterranean diet has gained widespread popularity across the world for its far reaching impact on promoting positive health and longevity. It is now a proven fact that the Mediterranean diet is effective in controlling high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels, and both treating and preventing type 2 diabetes. What’s more, the diet is rich in flavor, taste and is extraordinarily easy-to-prepare.

Fruit is commonly found in Mediterranean diet recipes, so let’s take a look at the benefits of the fruits  popularly used in Mediterranean diet.

Some delicious fruit commonly available in your local supermarket include: mango, oranges, peaches, apricots, cherries, figs, lemon, pears, plums, pomegranate and all sorts of berries – raspberries, strawberries– and of course, let’s not forget the potassium and fiber rich banana.

Among dried fruits, it is common to find cranberries or raisins mixed in with ancient nuts such as almonds or walnuts.

The variety of fruit and nuts characteristic of the Mediterranean diet can be eaten plain or baked.

For example, in the winter season, a warm scone made of whole wheat and cranberries baked with heart healthy extra virgin olive oil along with a cup of hot tea is a great way to snack and stay warm and comforted.

Almonds – available in whole, sliced (flaked, slivered), and as flour – almonds are a superbly heart healthy food which can be eaten raw or used in a variety of dishes. Almonds reduce the risk of heart disease, help control diabetes, help with weight loss and are rich in protein, fiber, healthy fat and antioxidants. Add almonds to your daily Mediterranean diet and you will be on the road to better heart health.

Walnuts are another fabulous Mediterranean nut that can be eaten as a snack or as a delicious addition to your recipes.. Walnuts are an excellent source of vitamins B6, vitamin E, folate, and thiamin. These delicious nuts also contain various healthy minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.  Among Mediterranean recipes, a popular preparation that uses walnuts in generous measure in Roasted Tomato Walnut Pesto Salmon. This simple Mediterranean-style heart-healthy salmon dish, is packed with multiple artery-healing ingredients.

You can also add chopped and toasted walnuts along with figs to Arugula salad. Arugula is an anti-cancer cruciferous vegetable with a delicious peppery bite. It is considered a true super food and is a popular Mediterranean diet ingredient.

Summer is the perfect time for tapping into Mother Nature’s chest of berries. Low calorie, fiber-filled red and blue berries (raspberries, strawberries and blueberries) are the perfect Mediterranean food for summer time. Mix them up with non-fat Greek yogurt for the perfect and delicious summertime snack. For additional nutrition, top your yogurt with heart-healthy walnut bits.

The naturally sweet and fiber-rich banana is an ideal Mediterranean food and summer is the time you might consider using bananas as a desert. Frozen sweet treats are very appealing this time of year, as the weather gets warmer, so try a refreshing cold fruit dessert of summer banana frozen yogurt this spring and summer.

Low Cholesterol Food: Mad about MUSHROOMS!

Heart healthy recipes by Dr Janet

Heart Healthy Recipes: Roasted Mushrooms with Sundried Tomatoes

Mushrooms are a super-low-calorie vegetable and a heart healthy food– 5 white button mushrooms contain a mere 20 calories! The most commonly consumed mushroom is the white button mushroom, but other mushrooms can also provide their own unique flavors to dishes such as the portobello, shiitake, oyster, maitake, crimini and beech mushrooms. It is one of the major constituents of low cholesterol recipes that help reduce cholesterol.

Even though mushrooms contain 90% water, they are rich in many vitamins and minerals, specifically Vitamin D (mushrooms are one of the few food sources of vitamin D on the planet), B vitamins (panotothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin), Selenium, and Potassium.

Luckily, spring is here and the warmer weather and long days will improve our vitamin D levels naturally because we will be getting more exposure to direct sunlight. That said, mushrooms are quite versatile in mediterranean recipes, add mushrooms to your egg white omelets, salads, soups, stir fries, pizzas, and vegetable side dishes.

Try this weekly’s simple Italian inspired recipe, Roasted Mushrooms with Sun-dried Tomatoes!


Roasted Mushrooms with Sundried Tomatoes
Give your basic roasted mushroom dish a flavorful kick inspired from Italy by incorporating fresh or dried seasonings such as basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and red pepper flakes.

Yield: 4 servings  (1 serving = 1/2 cup)


  • 1 lb of baby bell mushrooms (or white mushrooms), washed, halved
  • 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp of cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp of dried basil
  • ½ tsp of dried oregano
  • ½ tsp of dried thyme
  • ½ tsp of dried rosemary
  • ½ cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Optional: ¼ tsp of red pepper flakes


Pre-heat oven to 350 º F.
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together except the sun-dried tomatoes.
Spread mushroom mixture onto a baking sheet and place in the oven.
Roast the mushrooms for 30 minutes.
Place the mushrooms in a large bowl and add the sun-dried tomatoes.
Serve hot or cold.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 74 kcals
Fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 8g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Protein: 5g
Sodium: 147 mg

6 Health Benefits of Almonds

Almonds: A superfood

Almonds are rich in vitamin B & E, protein and dietary fiber

Almonds – available in whole, sliced (flaked, slivered), and as flour – is a heart healthy food which can be used in a variety of dishes. These edible nuts available (in different forms) in the market are the kernels of the small almond fruit which grow on almond trees that can reach up to 10 meters in height. Although packaged almonds are available round the year, the fresh crop matures in the autumn season.

Almonds house many different vital nutrients including carbohydrates, vitamins B & E, protein, dietary fiber, monounsaturated fat and essential minerals that bring blood pressure down. Like other nuts and seeds, almonds contain ‘phytosterols,’ plant chemicals known to have cholesterol-lowering properties.

Due to presence of these beneficial nutrients, the consumption of almonds offers a great deal of health benefits:

1. Reduced risk of heart disease

According to a study by Loma Linda School of Public Health, consumption of nuts (pistachios, walnuts, almonds, pecans) five times a week or more reduces the risk of heart disease by 44 percent in nut-eating vegetarians as compared to low nut-eating vegetarians.

Almonds house phytosterols, plant chemicals known to dramatically reduce LDL, low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol. The high content of monounsaturated fat in almonds also helps in promoting heart health. In addition to lowering cholesterol, these nuts help bring blood pressure down and reduce the risk of heart disease due to presence of vitamin E, magnesium and potassium – nutrients proven to have heart healthy benefits.

2. Effective against Diabetes

Researchers have found that almonds play a role in controlling post-meal rises in blood sugar. Adding almonds to meals reduces the glycemic index (GI) of the meal. GI is a measure of the rise in post-meal blood sugar level. The greater the amount of almonds ingested, the lower the GI of the meal and the greater the blunting of the rise in the blood sugar level.

Almonds also supply a nice amount of plant antioxidants, substances that curb the formation of dangerous free radicals, rogue chemicals formed as a result of metabolic reactions inside the body. Try a handful of dry-roasted almonds as a snack, on your salad or even as almond butter as a sandwich spread.

3. Helps with weight loss

Adding almonds to your salad plate or including them in your breakfast meals can help you control your weight. The rich protein-content makes a person feel full for longer periods, thereby helping them avoid overeating. The fiber present in almonds is also filling and promotes intestinal health. All of these nutrients including monounsaturated fats, protein, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin E nourish the body as well as keep your craving for food in check. This in turn helps in weight control.

4. Beneficial for the brain

Almonds are rich in riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that promote healthy functioning of the brain and may also prove effective in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. According to Ayurveda medicine, almonds stimulate the nervous system and help improve intellectual level and longevity.

5. Protects artery walls from damage

Almond skins contain flavonoids that in association with vitamin E help in reducing the risk of damage to the fragile layer of arterial walls known as the endothelium.

6. Supplies a high amount of protein

These spectacular nuts contain a surprisingly high amount of protein. A quarter cup of almonds supplies 7.62 grams of protein compared to an egg, which contains just 5.54 grams.

Almonds are a superbly heart healthy food that has sustained humankind for millennia (almonds have been cultivated in the Mediterranean regions for over 4,000 years). Nutritionists across the world recommend eating Mother Nature’s original health food, delicious and nutritious almonds.

Mediterranean Recipe of Roasted Tomato Walnut Pesto Salmon

Heart Healthy Recipe of Roasted Tomato Walnut Pesto Salmon

Roasted tomato walnut pesto salmon is delicious and high in omega-3 fatty acids

Can you name that food?

Sea food with high protein content, low in saturated fat, and high in omega-3 fatty acids.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming two servings of seafood per week (fish or shellfish, 4 oz/serving), especially seafood higher in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna (fresh or canned), and mackerel. Omega-3 fatty acids prevent blood clotting, build cell membranes, decrease inflammation, and have been proven to help prevent heart disease.

So make it a goal this week to eat your omega-3 fatty acids from FISH. Start by making a simple Mediterranean-style heart-healthy salmon dish, packed with multiple artery-healing ingredients—which happens to be this week’s featured recipe, Roasted Tomato Pesto Salmon.

Here is the heart-healthy recipe of Roasted Tomato Walnut Pesto Salmon:


Yield: 2 servings (1 serving = 4 oz fillet)

  • 2-4 oz salmon fillets
  • 2 Tablespoons of walnut pesto
  • 2-3 slices of tomato
  • 1 tsp of dried basil (or fresh minced basil)
  • ¼ tsp of black pepper

Heart Healthy Walnut Pesto:

  • 2 oz fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves


Pre-heat oven to 400 º F. Grease a tin pan with olive oil spray. Place all pesto ingredients into a food processor and blend pesto until a spreadable consistency. Place salmon fillets in the pan and cover each fillet with 1 Tablespoons of pesto. Top salmon with tomato slices and sprinkle with dried basil and black pepper. Bake salmon until opaque in the center, about 20-25 minutes.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

Calories: 273 kcal, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Fat: 15 g, Cholesterol: 81 mg, Protein 30 g, Sodium: 67 mg

Color Your Plate with Sweet Summer Produce for Blood Pressure Control

Color Your Plate to Bring Blood Pressure Down

Delicious & Heart Healthy Chopped Brussels Sprouts

Color your meal with red, orange, yellow, green, and purple foods by aiming to fill half your plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Raw fruits and vegetables can often get boring to eat on a daily basis so next time try cooking them, even fruits!

In fact, Mediterranean diet is all about eating fresh fruits and vegetables that helps bring blood pressure down and prevents heart disease.

This week’s blog features the zero cholesterol, heart healthy recipe of Sweet Summer Chopped Brussels Sprouts with seasonal red cherries that helps in lowering blood pressure.

Sweet Summer Chopped Brussels Sprouts

Add a crunch to your dishes with heart healthy fats from chopped nuts, such as pistachios, walnuts, or almonds.


Yield: 4 (serving size = 1 cup)

  • 2 cups brussels sprouts, chopped (about 12 brussels sprouts)
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1 cup red cherries, pitted, halved
  • 3 Clementine, peeled
  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple in 100% fruit juice
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium size bowl, mix chopped brussels sprouts, paprika, onion, and olive oil and then spread mixture out on a baking sheet. Roast brussels sprouts for 30 minutes (stir every 10 minutes). In a large skillet, mix roasted brussels sprouts, cherries, clementines, pineapple, and pistachios and heat on medium heat for 10 minutes. Serve dish hot or cold.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 150 kcal, Fat 6: g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbohydrate: 23 g, Dietary Fiber: 5 g, Protein: 4g, Sodium 13 mg

Mediterranean Recipe of Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad is Zero Cholesterol, Mediterranean Food

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Qrazy for Quinoa

What is all the hype about QUINOA?

You may have already heard about quinoa. But wouldn’t you like to know what makes this whole grain so special that many nutritionists elevate this food to a superfood status?

Quinoa (kēnwä) is a nutrition rich, gluten-free, whole grain filled with antioxidants, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc, and a high protein content (15%). In fact, quinoa is a “complete protein,” meaning it contains all the essential amino acids—in just the right amounts—for your protein needs. Quinoa is very versatile: you can eat quinoa as an ingredient in your salad, as a starchy side dish, or you can even eat it for breakfast as a substitute for a typical  breakfast of cereal or oatmeal.

One of the benefits of eating this ancient grain is that you will feel full for a longer time after eating quinoa because it takes your digestive tract more time to breakdown the high fiber and protein content. As such, quinoa has been shown to reduce risk of diabetes.

Try this week’s delicious Quinoa Summer Salad recipe!

- See more at:

Check out this zero cholesterol, Mediterranean recipe of quinoa salad:


A simple and incredibly nourishing salad and/or side dish. 


Add minced fresh basil leaves to your quinoa salad to add just a hint of summer flavor.  

Yields: 9 servings (1/3 cup per serving)


  •  1 cup of quinoa
  •   2 cups of water
  •  1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped
  •  ¼ cup of fresh basil leaves, minced
  •  ¼ cup of olives, chopped (green, black, and/or kalamata)
  •   ¼ cup of balsamic vinaigrette
  •  2 tablespoons of olive oil 


In a medium pot, add quinoa and water until a boil. Reduce water to a simmer and cook the quinoa until all the water is absorb (stir quinoa every 5 minutes so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot). Add the tomatoes, basil, olives, balsamic vinaigrette, and olive oil to the cooked quinoa and mix all the ingredients together. Serve hot or cold.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories: 110 kcal, Fat: 5 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Dietary Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 3 g, Sodium:  36 mg

Mediterranean Diet Prevents Cancer Cells’ Growth – Study

There is no denying the fact that Mediterranean diet full of plant based foods helps in preventing various diseases. After all, the food you eat has a direct impact on your health.

A recent study led by Ohio State University researchers found that a compound in certain plant-based foods, known as apigenin, could stop breast cancer cells.

“We see here that the beneficial effect on health is attributed to this dietary nutrient affecting many proteins. In its relationship with a set of specific proteins, apigenin re-establishes the normal profile in cancer cells. We think this can have great value clinically as a potential cancer-prevention strategy,” said Andrea Doseff, associate professor of internal medicine and molecular genetics at Ohio State, who co-authored the study.

Here are the excerpts from the article published in Science Daily:

“New research suggests that a compound abundant in the Mediterranean diet takes away cancer cells’ “superpower” to escape death.”

“Much of what is known about the health benefits of nutrients is based on epidemiological studies that show strong positive relationships between eating specific foods and better health outcomes, especially reduced heart disease…. Parsley, celery and chamomile tea are the most common sources of apigenin, but it is found in many fruits and vegetables.”

Read the rest of the article here: Science Daily

Check out some of the heart healthy Mediterranean recipes here.

Mediterranean Diet: Arugula Salad with Figs and Walnuts

Arugula Salad with Figs and Walnuts

Arugula seeds and leaves are a popular Mediterranean diet

The peppery bite of arugula blends well with the soft flavor of the figs.

Arugula, also known as “rocket salad” or “rocket seed” comes mainly from the Mediterranean region. It is known t improve overall body health as it is considered one of the most healthy and useful natural foods. Arugula is loaded with vitamins A, P, C iron, potassium and dietary fiber and has very low calorie count.

Arugula is also known for improving the quality of blood and enhancing the function of the liver. It is considered an energy giving food.


  • Have ready 1/4 cup Parsley Chive Dressing
  • One 5-ounce container baby arugula
  • 1 cup dried Mission figs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted


In a bowl toss arugula with the Parsley Chive Dressing. Arrange arugula on a platter or in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with figs and walnuts. Serve with more dressing on the side if desired.

Serves 6


Per 1 1/4 cup salad with 2 teaspoons dressing:

  • Calories: 173
  • Fat: 11 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, 1g ALA)
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 15 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 18 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugars: 13 g
  • Protein: 3 g

Recipe from Prevent a Second Heart Attack

Mediterranean Food: Roasted Beets with Lemon Vinaigrette

Roasted Beets with Lemon Vinaigrette

Earthy beets – a healthy Mediterranean diet

Earthy beets are a beautiful side dish when roasted, peeled, and topped with a lemony vinaigrette and fresh parsley.


  • 6 beets, trimmed of greens and roots
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley


Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place the beets in the dish and cover tightly with foil. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake the beets for about 1 hour or until they are tender when pierced with a fork or thin knife. Remove from oven and allow to cool to the touch.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper for the dressing. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and slice the beets, arranging the slices on a platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette and garnish with parsley.

Serves 6


Per each beet with 1 teaspoon vinaigrette:

  • Calories: 69
  • Fat: 6 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, < 1 g ALA)
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 222 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 4 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugars: <1 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Excerpt from Prevent a Second Heart Attack- 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease – inspired by the heart-healthy, time-proven Mediterranean diet.

By following the straightforward, eight-point program in Prevent a Second Heart Attack Book, you can reduce your risk of a second heart attack by up to 70 percent.

Mediterranean Recipes: Tuna Romesco

Mediterranean Recipes Tuna Romesco

If you like steak, you will love this meaty tuna steak – a healthy Mediterranean Recipe

A meaty tuna steak topped with a fresh, spicy, almond-studded tomato sauce.


Four 6-ounce tuna steaks

• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 plum tomato, cut in half and seeds removed
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1/4 cup blanched almonds
• 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato
• 1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
• 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley


Season tuna with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to cook. Roughly chop the tomato.

In a skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and almonds and sauté until the garlic turns golden but not too brown.

Add the plum tomato, sun-dried tomato, roasted red pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Cook until the tomato is soft. Let cool.

Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.

Remove to a bowl and stir in the vinegar and parsley.

To cook the tuna, spray the fillets lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Heat a nonstick skillet or grill to high heat.

Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side depending on thickness and desired degree of doneness.

Serves 4

Per 6-ounce tuna and 1/4 cup sauce:

• Calories: 285
• Fat: 10 g (< 1 g EPA, < 1 g DHA, • Saturated Fat: 1 g
• Cholesterol: 77 mg
• Sodium: 307 mg
• Carbohydrate: 6 g
• Dietary Fiber: 2 g
• Sugars: 2 g
• Protein: 43 g

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