Food for a Healthy Heart

Cardiovascular diseases are widespread in our country. Common causes are high blood pressure or being overweight. The right diet can keep the vessels permeable and strengthen the heart.

In Germany, every fourth death is due to a diseased heart. Coronary heart disease (CHD), heart attack, and cardiac insufficiency lead the statistics. Heart disease is the most common cause of death in this country.

It has now been scientifically proven that the risk of heart disease can be significantly reduced with a healthy diet. After evaluating numerous studies, the recommendations of all international professional societies for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases are as follows:

  • lots of fresh vegetables and low-sugar fruit – five handfuls a day
  • fish instead of meat; lots of vegetarian food
  • high-quality oils instead of cheap fats
  • High-fiber whole grain products instead of white flour products
  • legumes and nuts
  • reduce sugar consumption.
  • Fat is not just fat!

For decades, fats were considered fattening and disease-causing. This has changed fundamentally as a result of recent research: we now know that some fats are even healthy and vital. It is, therefore, necessary to differentiate.

Unhealthy dietary fats include trans-fatty acids in particular. Their consumption can increase the “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood and lower the “good” HDL cholesterol. The LDL cholesterol can be deposited in the vessels and thus promote the development of arteriosclerosis – one of the most important risk factors for stroke and heart attack.

Trans fats can be found, for example, in fried, roasted, or baked foods – i.e. in popular snacks such as donuts, donuts, croissants, biscuits, puff pastries, chips, or French fries. They are also often found in ready-made meals, ready-made pizzas, and ready-made soups.

Healthy soils for a healthy heart

You should definitely eat healthy fats more often, for example, monounsaturated fatty acids. The most important monounsaturated fatty acid is oleic acid. It is found in olive oil, peanut oil, and avocados, as well as in sesame or rapeseed oil and nuts.

Olive oil in particular also contains polyphenols, which, among other things, act as antioxidants – i.e. anti-inflammatory. Although rapeseed oil has few polyphenols, it does have anti-inflammatory alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) on board. ALA is a so-called polyunsaturated fatty acid, more precisely an omega-3 fatty acid. Our body needs omega-3 fatty acids for many central metabolic processes, including as a basic material for cell membranes. ALA is particularly found in linseed oil and chia oil. The other two important omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, are mainly found in fatty fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon, or tuna. Omega-3 fatty acids lower the cholesterol level, ward off free radicals and thus protect against dangerous vascular calcification.

Unsaturated Fatty Acids in Nuts

Nuts provide plenty of unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber plus valuable secondary plant substances. They fill you up well without spiking your blood sugar levels – so they’re also a great snack between meals. Cashew and macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, and almonds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. Walnuts also provide valuable omega-3 fatty acids. But since the fats also have a lot of calories, a handful of nuts a day should be enough.

Be careful with salt!

Too much salt in food binds the water in the body. This increases the pressure in the blood vessels and thus the blood pressure. Therefore, instead of salt, fresh herbs should be used for seasoning.

Is vegetarian food healthier for the heart?

A heart-healthy diet doesn’t have to be entirely vegetarian, but many people should significantly reduce their meat consumption. Nutritionists recommend a small portion of meat, preferably untreated, once or twice a week. Lean meat in particular contributes important nutrients to a balanced diet. However, according to studies, meat products processed with salting, smoking or curing increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Sausages, ham, bacon, or salami should therefore end up on the plate as rarely as possible.

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