The prevention of cardiovascular diseases also involves the table. Here are the nutritionist’s advice on the heart-healthy diet.

That thediet plays a fundamental role in preserving our health in general and that of our heart in particular, this has been known for some time now. Suffice it to say that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that 1/3 of cardiovascular diseases and tumors It is preventable thanks to a healthy and balanced diet.

In fact, there are many foods allied to the health of our cardiovascular system, such as fruit and vegetables, legumes, in particular soy, whole grains, but also coffee, tea, red wine, dark chocolate and vinegar. of Apple.

But why are these foods considered “friends” of the heart? And in what quantities would it be best to consume them? Let’s clarify things with Dr. Cristina Robba, nephrologist in charge of the clinical nutrition clinic at the San Marco Polyclinic and nutritionist at Smart Clinic ‘Le Due Torri’.

Nutrition and heart health: what is the connection

“The link between food and heart health is very strong. In fact, there are foods that, if consumed consistently and in the right quantities, play an important role in protect the cardiovascular system And prevent the onset of arterial hypertension And diabetes mellitusL’increase in triglyceridesas well as of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) versus ‘good’ (HDL).

In other words, they help reduce the risk of the onset of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke”, explains Dr. Robba.

Foods for the heart

“The well-being of the most important muscle in our body can be preserved with a diet that favors the intake of foods that contain specific and essential nutrients for the heart – underlines the specialist -. And it’s not just important to choose the right type of food. A heart-friendly diet must also include consuming them in correct doses. Let’s look at them specifically.”

1. Green leafy vegetables

Prioritize the consumption of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, damn, zuchinis, rocket, fenneletc., because it is rich in vitamin Kwhich helps protect the arteries.

Furthermore, it is a source of nitrates That:

  • reduce blood pressure;
  • they slow down the aging of the arteries;
  • they improve the functionality of the lining of the blood vessels.

The ideal would be to consume at least 1 portion of vegetables for both lunch and dinner also as a snack, in the form of centrifuged products for example.

2. Fresh and dried fruit

Fresh fruit is a reserve of vitamins, A, B1, B2, B3 and C which protect the heart and arteries. For example, we should eat oranges and citrus fruits in general, mango, kiwi, plums, apricots, cherries, apples, melon, pineapple. Green light also to berries and red fruits (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, strawberries) that they contain antioxidants (substances capable of counteracting, slowing down or neutralizing free radicals) and help keep bad cholesterol and blood pressure under control. It is advisable to consume it at least 3 portions every day.

Dried fruit is also excellent nuts, hazelnuts, peanutsrich in vitamin E and omega3 fatty acids that combat increased blood pressure e they ‘clean’ the arteries of bad cholesterol. In this case, 10-15 grams of dried fruit per day is recommended.

3. Fish especially blue fish

The blue fish like mackerel, anchovies, etc. and the salmon have a high content of omega3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death, as well as the mortality rate due to heart disease. It would be good to eat it 3 or 4 times a week.

4. Legumes

Chickpeas, lentils, beans, peas and broad beans they are a source of vegetable proteins and macronutrients (fibre, carbohydrates) but low in sugars and fats. Furthermore, legumes contain essential mineral salts:

  • iron, which reduces bad cholesterol;
  • potassium, which reduces blood pressure;
  • phosphorus, which promotes the proper functioning of the muscles, therefore of the heart.

They should be put on the table if possible 2 or 3 times a week.

5. Soy

Soybean is a legume with a high protein contenttwice as much as meat. It is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids which, as already mentioned, fight cardiovascular diseases, but also lecithinsfamous substances rich in phosphorus with anti-cholesterolemic properties.

Soy is therefore able to keep triglycerides in the blood low and keep diabetes under controlanother cardiovascular risk factor.

The recommended dose is that of 1 serving per dayas a 250 ml cup of soy milk or one soy yogurtor a stick of 100g tofu.

6. Cereals are better if whole

Whole grain bread, pasta and rice, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat and quinoa are all rich in fibre that can help reduce bad cholesterol. The important thing, however, is to vary in the choice of cereals, preferring them whole and consuming them a small portion every day (about 70 grams).

7. Coffee and tea in moderation

Coffee and tea contain polyphenolssubstances from antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, also capable of regulating lipid and glucose metabolism, keeping cholesterol values ​​at bay and protecting the cardiovascular system. However, it is essential not to exceed: maximum 2 cups of coffee/tea per day.

8. Red wine, as the grandparents recommended

Red wine is rich in resveratrol, a substance found in the skin of grapes, especially black ones, with antioxidant properties and capable of counteracting bad cholesterol and raising the levels of good cholesterol. According to several studies, consume 1 glass of red wine per day it would bring benefits to both the heart and the brain, decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

9. Chocolate yes, but dark

Chocolate is a source of flavonoids, a subcategory of polyphenols, which promote lelasticity of blood vessels, reduce the risk of weight gain and its harmful consequences on cardiovascular health. The important thing, however, is that it is dark (at least 70% cocoa) and no more than 10 g per day (a small square).

10. Vegetable oils and fats

To season dishes, go ahead withextra virgin olive oil which contains oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has protective effects on cardiovascular diseases. I’m from limit animal fats instead such as butter, lard, vegetable oils such as palm oil, high-fat sauces and condiments.

11. Apple cider vinegar

Recent studies have shown that the consumption of apple cider vinegar alone or in dishes appears to have a positive effect on the health of the cardiovascular system. This is because it contains minerals such as phosphorus, sulphur, iron, magnesium and especially socceressential for strengthening the heart and muscles immunitary defense of the body, e potassiumwhich affects the proper functioning of the heart and muscles.

It is also a source of pectina water-soluble fiber capable of protecting cells and blood vessels, contributes to reduce blood cholesterol levels, promotes the feeling of satiety and hinders the absorption of fats.”

Foods that are bad for the heart

“In addition to foods that are ‘friends’ of the heart, to protect the cardiovascular system it is also a good idea to eliminate foods considered harmful from the diet. First of all is the salt, because it negatively affects blood pressure. The maximum recommended daily amount is 5 grams (about 2 grams of pure sodium). It is therefore important to use it as little as possible, replacing it for example with spices to flavor dishes.

Furthermore, it is advisable to pay attention to the ‘hidden’ saltcontained mainly in packaged or processed foods (for example snacks but also sausages, canned foods, bouillon cubes).

It is also rich in saturated fats and an enemy of the heart meat, especially the red one. It is therefore recommended to eat it no more than 2 times a week and prefer the white one, such as chicken, turkey, veal, rabbit and lamb.

Also be careful to limit the consumption of alcoholic beverageswhich are rich in sugars, increase blood pressure and cause liver damage.

Finally, alongside the rules of good nutrition, a correct lifestyle should not be overlooked to keep the heart healthy and fit”, he explains further.

For a healthy heart, also pay attention to your lifestyle

“To prevent cardiovascular diseases it is advisable to keep the body weight. It is therefore fundamental to do regular exerciseto strengthen the heart and improve blood circulation.

And it is not necessary to practice particularly strenuous sports. Even just doing one walk at least 30 minutes a day And climb the stairs on footThey are panacea for our heart health. Finally, for smokers, it is important to stop this bad habit”, concludes the specialist.