Meal Plan Created By: Amanda Kostro Miller
In 2019, Bloomberg named Spain as the healthiest country in the world.1 The country’s exceptionally high life expectancy average and dietary and lifestyle habits play a huge role in the population’s overall health. Luckily, you don’t need a passport to cash in on the multiple health benefits Spanish cuisine offers - we’ve partnered with a Registered Dietitian to create a flavorful and heart-healthy 7-day Spanish meal plan.
Health Benefits Of Spanish Food
Less Processed Food
Many dishes rely on a variety of fruits and vegetables and fish is the main animal protein. Supplemented with whole grains, nuts, beans, olive oil, and small amounts of dairy, the Spanish diet emphasizes eating less meat and processed food.2 Eating less meat (particularly red meat) can help decrease the risk of death from stroke, heart disease, or diabetes, and eating less processed foods fuels your body with more nutrients.3 4
Read More: 6 Easy Food Swaps To Be More Heart-Healthy
Variety of Seafood
Seafood is one of the starlets of Spanish cuisine, offering numerous health benefits. In a meta-analysis, researchers found that eating fish once a week was associated with a 15% lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, compared to eating no fish at all.5 In addition, an intake of white and fatty fish (but not shellfish) may help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, even in at-risk populations.6
Focus On Healthy Fats
Instead of cutting out fats, the Spanish diet emphasizes eating the right kind of fat - especially fats containing Omega-3. This cuisine calls for high-quality fats like extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and legumes. Not only is this type of diet associated with a lower rate of cardiovascular events than reduced-fat diets, but consuming healthy, long chain Omega-3 fats could help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.7 8
Heart Healthy Spanish Recipes
To check out the benefits of Spanish cuisine, download our free, 7-day meal plan. Featuring traditional dishes like cocido madrileno (chickpea-based stew) and gazpacho, you’ll fill up on plenty of good-for-you ingredients. With heart-healthy nutrients packed into each dish, your body (and taste buds) will thank you!
This article is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as or substituted for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health care provider with any questions about your health or a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have read on the internet.