Healthy eating for a strong heart
It is important to demystify the idea that a healthy diet only includes vegetables and “tasteless” foods and that it is the same for everyone. Adopting a healthy diet can often mean eating different foods depending on the person.
That is, the same diet does not always work for different people and it is necessary to adapt it to the needs and restrictions of each individual. And being healthy does not mean not being able to enjoy what you eat, quite the contrary. With the offers that currently exist, of healthy and natural products, a healthy diet allows you to enjoy what you eat, with no burden on your conscience.
But what is a healthy diet anyway?
This topic is widely studied by the scientific community, as it becomes increasingly evident that “we are what we eat”. There is a consensus that there are healthier diets than others and, often, especially when the purpose is weight loss, people adopt unbalanced diets with consequences for their health.
So, regardless of the purpose, you should start with a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean, and adapt it to your needs and/or restrictions.
The Mediterranean diet, intangible cultural heritage of humanity, translates into one of the healthiest and most sustainable eating patterns in the world and should be used as a tool to promote a healthy lifestyle and balanced eating habits.
Essentials of the Mediterranean Diet:
- Frugality and simple cooking, based on preparations that protect the
nutrients, such as soups, casseroles, stews and stews.
- High consumption of plant-based foods to the detriment of the consumption of
foods of animal origin, namely vegetables, fruit, bread
quality and unrefined cereals, dried and fresh legumes and fruits
- Consumption of plant-based foods, locally produced, fresh and from
- Consumption of olive oil as the main source of fat.
- Moderate dairy consumption.
- Use of aromatic herbs to season instead of salt.
- Frequent consumption of fish and low consumption of red meat.
- Low to moderate consumption of wine and only with main meals.
- Water as the main drink throughout the day.
- Conviviality around the table.
Thus, starting from the same base, the diet must be adjusted to each person, as there are foods that, due to their nutritional composition, can be especially important for certain organs/functions: if you want to lose weight, you should adopt a diet with less calories, avoiding simple carbohydrates and fats.
If you have any digestive or intestinal conditions, such as Crohn's disease, you should avoid foods high in fiber, caffeine, fats, as well as some vegetables, legumes and fruits. In the case of the heart and cardiovascular system, foods containing omega fatty acids and fiber should be preferred.
Adopting a healthy diet is a matter of health. The food choices we make on a daily basis are fundamental to reducing the risk of diseases, with emphasis on cardiovascular diseases, the main cause of the greatest number of deaths, which, according to the WHO, represent 31% of mortality globally.
In Portugal, around 35,000 Portuguese die annually from cardiovascular diseases, which continue to be the main cause of death and represent a third of all mortality in the population, although many of these deaths and prolonged suffering could be avoided by a simple change in the eating habits.
And what are the most beneficial foods for the heart?
- Fish: rich in essential fatty acids from the omega-3 family, which play an important role in heart health. They make arteries more flexible, which helps lower blood pressure and prevents inflammation.
On the other hand, they are also important for regulating the electrical impulses that sustain heartbeats. Salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are part of the group of fish called “blue fish”, which have a higher content of this “good fat”.
If you don't like these fish, you can opt for supplementation: BioActivo Cardio Omega 3 - 60 capsules - Ref: 7350488 .
- Dry fruits: They also provide essential fatty acids and protein. Another benefit of these foods is the fact that they are rich in flavonoids, substances associated with great antioxidant power.
For the heart, the best choices are almonds and walnuts, which provide omega-3, vitamin E, fiber, folic acid and magnesium. But you should consume them in moderation (about a handful a day) as their caloric value, along with the benefits, is also high.
- Red wine: in moderation, that is, about two glasses a day, with main meals, it contributes to the intake of resveratrol, a molecule that has been studied a lot in recent years due to its antioxidant power. Several studies indicate that moderate consumption of red wine has a positive role in increasing “good cholesterol” (HDL, which confers cardiovascular protection) and decreasing “bad cholesterol” (LDL, associated with the process of atherosclerosis).
- Legumes : beans, soy, chickpeas and lentils are a source of protein of vegetable origin. Experts have long recommended, in the case of cardiovascular disease, the replacement of animal proteins (especially those derived from meat) with plant proteins. They are foods that naturally do not contain cholesterol and also provide important nutrients such as fiber, iron, calcium and potassium.
- Whole grains: differ from refined grains in that they retain the bran and germ present in the grains. For this reason it maintains nutrients such as fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium and iron.
- Dark green leafy vegetables and fruits: are food options that contain folic acid and vitamin B complex that decreases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The apple, also rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that reduces glycemia (blood sugar levels), prevents the absorption of fats and eliminates cholesterol.
Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, a type of lipid linked to lowering cholesterol levels and risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Daily, eat between five to six servings of fruit.
- Poultry, fish, brown rice, soy beans, oats, peanuts and hazelnuts: in this case the key nutrient is vitamin B6, which has been referenced in several studies as being useful in reducing homocysteine levels.
- Fermented red rice: More and more people are hearing about this food, which despite being very common in Chinese cuisine, is difficult to access in our country. Therefore, and to obtain all the benefits of red rice, you can opt for the supplement BioActivo Red Rice - 150tablets - Ref: 6275248 , whose activity has been tested and shown to be able to maintain normal levels of cholesterol in the body, due to the presence of monacolin K which reduces the production of cholesterol by the body.
- Peanuts, sesame seeds and soybean oil: offer you coenzyme Q10, an essential component in the process of obtaining energy. But of course, consume these foods in moderation!
- Garlic: garlic is of great importance in health, especially for the cardiovascular system. Its action, according to the scientific literature, helps lower cholesterol and improve the HDL/LDL ratio. You can find this supplement at My Pharma Spot : BioActivo Garlic - 60 tablets -Ref: 7350546
- Artichoke: this vegetable makes a very beneficial contribution to normal blood lipid levels.
- Oil: It is a fat rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which is why it is considered one of the healthiest, as its benefits in preventing cardiovascular diseases are scientifically proven.
In addition to the foods to favor, you should reduce the amount of salt ingested (the salt intake recommended by the WHO is up to 5 grams per day), as well as saturated fats and simple carbohydrates.
You should also maintain an active lifestyle, exercising regularly and avoiding sources of stress. Tobacco is also very harmful for cardiovascular health, and not only that. Quit smoking, for you, for everyone! Read our article .
The adoption of a healthy and adequate diet for good cardiovascular functioning should:
- control the weight
- reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
- improve the survival rate after a myocardial infarction
- reduce blood pressure
- lower cholesterol levels
- control blood sugar levels
- improve heart function.
Proper nutrition can reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease by 50%.
Blood pressure control is essential to manage and assess the state of your health, that is, to know if there is a problem (such as hypertension) and if the levels are regulated.
This means that it is not enough to measure your blood pressure only in routine exams that occur once a year.
It is necessary to carry out the control more frequently and increase it as we age.
Braun ActivScan TM9 - arm blood pressure monitor
Its custom-designed, pinch-to-open armband provides an easy fit with soft-fill technology, which means you can adjust it easily and comfortably around your arm.
The Braun blood pressure monitor combines professional Braun precision with technologies that make it easy to read and monitor your blood pressure.
The color-coded blood pressure level indicator helps you quickly interpret your results. Additional features include averaging the last three measurements and detecting an irregular heartbeat.
To facilitate monitoring, its software also allows calculating the average systolic, diastolic and pulse value of the last 7 days. Memory for 200 measurements on 2 users.
Healthy Heart app is compatible with iOS and Android. The results are color-coded, and you can consult them wherever and whenever you want on your smartphone.
- Directorate General of Health at: https://alimentacaosaudavel.dgs.pt/activeapp2020/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Padr%C3%A3o-Alimentar-Mediterr%C3%A2nico-Promotor-de-Sa%C3%BAde-1.pdf
- CUF Hospital at: https://www.cuf.pt/mais-saude/10-alimentos-aliados-do-coracao
- Atlas of Health in: https://www.atlasdasaude.pt/publico/content/dieta-mediterranica-e-os-beneficios-para-saude- National Health Service at: https://www.sns.gov.pt/noticias/2017/10/04/doencas-cardiovascular/