Diet for a healthy heart - what to avoid?

A properly balanced diet, containing a lot of vegetables and fruits, cereal products rich in fiber, and fish rich in omega-3, nuts, seeds, and legumes, is of great importance in preventing heart disease. To prevent cardiovascular diseases, you should limit products containing a lot of saturated fats, trans fats and sodium, as well as the consumption of sweetened drinks. The American Heart Association also recommends introducing meatless meals into your diet, and if you do eat meat, you should choose leaner varieties.

How to strengthen your heart? To reduce the risk of heart disease or the development of atherosclerosis, you should change your eating habits.

Diet for a healthy heart – what and how to eat?

In the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, there are two main dietary patterns – 

the Mediterranean diet and  

DASH (used to control 

hypertension ). Epidemiological studies have shown that greater consumption of non-starchy vegetables and fruits (excluding e.g. potatoes, and sweet potatoes), nuts, legumes, vegetable oils, yogurt, and whole grain products while limiting the consumption of red and processed meat, foods high in refined carbohydrates and salt, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.A diet suitable for the heart should also reduce the risk of 

overweight and obesity – i.e. not exceeding our daily energy requirement related to, among others, age, physical activity, and health condition. Overweight and obesity may lead to deterioration of health and the development of diseases such as hypertension, 

atherosclerosis or increased cholesterol levels ( 

hypercholesterolemia ), as well as 

type 2 diabetes – which may also lead to vascular complications.  That’s why weight control is so important for heart health  

.

Fats in the diet for the heart

When taking care of your heart, you should pay attention to the quality of fats – some of them have a very negative impact on health, especially the circulatory system. Saturated fatty acids are found in butter, coconut and palm oil, as well as fatty meats (e.g. pork, goose, duck). Such products should be limited because they affect our health.The best way is to replace them with products containing unsaturated fatty acids, which are found, among others, in: in fatty sea fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, tuna), 

rapeseed oil , olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.Trans isomers of fatty acids (also called trans fats) are particularly harmful – they negatively affect the lipid profile, which determines the level of cholesterol in the blood, i.e. they reduce the concentration of good cholesterol (HDL)  

and , unfortunately, increase the concentration of bad 

cholesterol (LDL) . Therefore, it is important that if HDL and/or high LDL levels are too low, the sources of this fat should be limited, including stock cubes, fast food, confectionery, and mixtures of vegetable and animal fats. You can check the content of trans fats in various products in the database:  

Meat affects the heart

Fatty, red meat, such as pork or goose, should not appear too often in the diet. If possible, it is worth considering completely avoiding its consumption in order to prevent cardiovascular diseases.The issue of duck meat and mutton is similar. These are fatty meats that, when eaten in large quantities, may have a negative impact on the circulatory system. However, you do not have to give up meat completely, an alternative may be lean, so-called white chicken or turkey meat. Although experts increasingly recommend limiting the consumption of meat in general and increasing the consumption of plant-based products.

The effect of salt on the heart

The optimal solution in a heart-friendly diet is to give up salt. However, most people cannot imagine the kitchen and cooking without the addition of this well-known spice. Moreover, salt does not only come from the salt shaker but is also found in many purchased products as an additive, e.g. bread, cheese, smoked fish, cold cuts – so it is worth reading food labels. Excessive salt consumption may lead to the development of hypertension. The solution may be to under-salt the dishes that are already on the plate (put the salt shaker off the table), use aromatic fresh herbs and spices, and/or use salt with limited sodium content (but pay attention to whether it is enriched with iodine because salt is also the source of this ingredient). Salt intake should be limited to 5 g per day (i.e. approximately 1 teaspoon).

A diet that is good for the heart and normal blood pressure should not contain large amounts of salt.  This adversely affects our health.A diet that is good for the heart and normal blood pressure should not contain large amounts of salt. This adversely affects our health.

Dairy in the Heart Diet

In the case of dairy products, it is worth choosing those with a lower saturated fat content. Yellow cheese, feta, mascarpone, and processed cheeses have quite a high content of saturated fat, mozzarella contains less of it, and there is nothing to stop cottage cheese, milk (approx. 1.5-2%), and unsweetened natural yogurt from being included in the diet. permanently.

Diet for the heart and vegetables and fruits

A healthy diet for a strong heart should also include plenty of fruit and vegetables, and legumes (including lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, beans).In order to maintain normal blood pressure, 

the diet should also include products rich in potassium. Therefore, it is worth making sure that your diet includes, among others: tomatoes, bananas, potatoes, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and avocado.

Whole grain products and the heart

When choosing a heart-healthy menu, it is also worth taking into account whole grain products such as whole grain pasta, brown rice, whole grain bread (e.g. whole grain, graham), natural cereal flakes (e.g. oat), as well as groats – barley, millet or buckwheat. This is important because these products contain a large amount of folic acid, many vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals and fiber. Read also: 

  • The most common diseases of the circulatory system
  • Healthy heart – what to do to have a healthy heart?
  • How to take care of your heart?
  • Ketogenic diet in the treatment of epilepsy – what is it, recommendations and tips

The presented medical information should not be treated as guidelines for medical treatment for each patient. The medical procedure, including the scope and frequency of diagnostic tests and/or therapeutic procedures, is decided individually by the doctor, in accordance with medical indications, which he determines after reviewing the patient’s condition. The doctor makes the decision in consultation with the patient. If the patient wants to perform tests that are not covered by medical indications, the patient has the option of having them performed for a fee.
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