Eating more yogurt is linked with a reduced risk of heart attack. Dr. Martin says it’s also about how yogurt can work together with other parts of your meal. Really high in protein, Greek yogurt balances out the carbs you’re eating, and it’s highly amenable to being combined with other tasty, yet healthy, foods. “Oftentimes, people will eat the yogurt with fruit,” he observes. “So they’re mixing and matching different components of this diet.” Sprinkle on some nuts, and you’re getting all the good stuff in one go! Just make sure you’re not buying the processed kind with loads of added sugar, which nullifies any advantage you get from choosing yogurt in the first place.
Drink lots of wine! As much as you want! Kidding, obviously. “I do have to say it’s a little controversial for a physician to recommend alcohol,” Dr. Martin admits. But he feels that if there’s no history of alcohol abuse, wine is more than fine.
Experts tend to say that the antioxidant resveratrol is the driver of wine’s cardiovascular benefits, but Dr. Martin has another theory to explain wine’s reputation as a health-promoting adult beverage. “Wine is classically enjoyed with family and friends, and that whole social aspect of things is probably part of why folks in the Mediterranean countries have lower incidence of heart disease,” he says. “It is about the foods they’re eating, but it’s also the way in which they eat: in the company of friends and family, laughter, good cheer, and wine.”
Speaking of the Mediterranean, if many of these foods seem like they belong together, it’s because they’re largely part of the Mediterranean diet. People living on the Mediterranean have really low rates of cardiovascular disease, and scientists (observant people that they are) have noticed.
When they investigated what the Greeks and their neighbors were eating, it turned out that there wasn’t one magic food, but an approach to eating that included a variety of heart-healthy dishes. “When we look at a specific food we shouldn’t be asking is this bad or good, but rather, is it something I should have as the base of my diet on a daily basis -- or is it OK to have it every now and then?” emphasizes Dr. Martin.
“Ultimately, the most important thing is to learn the components that make up a heart-healthy diet, and find ways to balance these out and combine them in a pattern that works for you,” Dr. Martin advises. “Be creative, mix, and match.” Guess that means dinner will be wine and yogurt.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
Marina Komarovsky is a Freelance Writer for Thrillist and a recent analysis of her grocery bills showed that 50% of her income is going toward Greek yogurt. For more on nutrition on your health, follow her tweets @MariKomarovsky.