How should we feed our heart? A nutritionist’s explanations – Weight and Nutrition

We all know the impact food can have on our health. But what we do will be enough to prevent the cardiovascular diseases that so affect our population?

On the subject of Heart Month, find out how food makes a difference in cardiovascular health.

What does a balanced diet consist of?

A balanced diet implies the consumption of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, carbohydrates from low glycemic index, low salt intake, refined sugar, saturated fats and trans. That is, the consumption of foods such as fruits, vegetables, fish, fatty fruits (nuts for example), seeds, whole grains, vegetable oils – mainly olive oil extra virgin – and dairy. Associated with a low intake of sweets, soft drinks, red meat and processed foods.

The Mediterranean diet, which favors the consumption of seasonal and region, it is recognized as the healthiest and most sustainable in the world, contributing to the control of risk factors of cardiovascular disease.

Some practical examples: the use of spices, the use of aromatic herbs, garlic and onion allow to reduce the use of salt; as well as the use of olive oil, as the main source of fat, helps to improve the profile lipid, that is, the fats in the blood. Olive oil is a fat with high resistance to heat and is also rich in vitamin E and beta-carotenes, having as it cardioprotective properties. Consumption of olives, seeds, fruits fatty, are characteristic and frequently consumed in the countries of the Mediterranean and provide a healthy type of fat, beneficial for the heart. Dairy products – such as cheese, yogurt and milk – should be consumed daily, having to opt for their lean versions.

Hydration is essential

Consumption of water and infusions without added sugar help maintain a level of hydration, which is essential to maintain balance in the body. Already the consumption of wine should be moderated and accompanied with main meals.

The importance of fruit and vegetables

The high consumption of vegetables is one of the most important characteristics of this food pattern that is the Mediterranean diet. Vegetables provide a high content of vitamins, minerals, water and fiber, essential for our organism. Starting a meal with soup, for example, can be a healthy way to ingest these nutrients. The consumption of vegetables and fruit, rich in antioxidant substances, constitutes an important protective factor for the development of various diseases. Fruit can be both an excellent dessert as a snack, between meals, being therefore very practical to transport and ready to consume. As far as cereals are concerned, unrefined must be privileged. Rye bread, mixed and wholemeal, wheat and rice are good sources of energy, B vitamins and minerals, and should therefore be consumed daily. The cooking methods such as boiled, grilled, stews, stews with little addition of fat, are the most used, being that protect nutrients while retaining a higher content of vitamins and minerals.

Prioritize the consumption of fish

Frequent consumption of fish, rather than excessive consumption of red meat represents one of the principles of the Mediterranean diet.

Fish, white meats and eggs must represent a small part of the dish. Even so, comparatively, the consumption of fish should be privileged. At legumes, such as beans and grains, are good suppliers of fiber and protein from plant origin and must therefore be present in meals.

Sweet foods, rich in fat and sugar, should be consumed rarely. and only in special circumstances. The same applies to sugary drinks, cakes and goodies.

Make your meals on time

Conviviality at the table is something culturally intrinsic to our country, being also one of the characteristics of the Mediterranean diet. This should be valued: passing time at the table with family and friends and having meals with time, eating slowly, thus increasing the feeling of satiety.

Essential pillars for heart health

A balanced diet and regular exercise are pillars essential for a healthy lifestyle and at the same time work as protective factors for cardiovascular health. The heart is a vital organ of our body and its proper functioning is crucial for our life. Take good care of him.

An article by nutritionist Carolina Fontes, from Hospital CUF Porto.

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