Love yourself! A healthy diet that takes care of your heart

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in cardiology with heart | Posted on 03-02-2020



The National Institute of Statistics indicates that the most frequent causes of death in Spain are ischemic heart disease or heart failure. Good prevention is key to avoiding such casualties. Prevention starts with the food we eat daily. Taking care of what we eat, combined with series of good habits such as walking 20 minutes a day, sleeping for 8 hours and avoiding toxic substances such as alcohol or smoking are the key to taking care of our heart.

So, ready to start your heart-healthy diet?

Dr Gómez Doblas, Head of the Cardiology Department at Vithas Xanit International Hospital, offers us today a series of advice to get started.

First, we should know who are the groups with the high risk of cardiovascular diseases: we are talking about people with a family history of premature cardiovascular disease or family dyslipidaemia, or patients with a significant risk factor — smokers, people with diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol. In patients with cardiovascular risk factors mentioned above, a health check is recommended every 5 years, and in general men from the age of 40 and women from the age of 50.

Back to the pieces of advice related to diet, we should mention that it is remarkable that consuming raw foods always generates a more beneficial effect on health than when cooking them. Mainly due to eliminating or lowering vitamins in contact with heat. Examples? Cooking tomatoes for just two minutes decreases their vitamin C content by 10%. On the contrary, some vegetables offer greater health benefits when cooked. In this group are carrots, asparagus and even tomatoes. Its cooking makes our bodies benefit more easily from some of their protective antioxidants, although in some case we lose some of their vitamins.


Mediterranean diet: now and always

Now we are talking about the worldwide known fact, although it is not always put into practice. Who has not heard of the Mediterranean diet? An adequate proportion of olive oil, legumes, unsalted nuts, fruit and bluefish is synonymous with good cardiovascular health.

In contrast, the abuse of animal fats, especially trans fats, and quick-release sugars, increases the incidence of coronary heart disease by up to 23%.


The list of the non-purchase

If we choose a practical approach, it is not difficult to list those foods that harm your cardiovascular health. The best known is salt, although more important are those that contain trans fatty acids, which we can define as fats with a special conformation derived from the realization of some processes, such as the refining of vegetable or fish oils or the heating of oils at high temperatures, as occurs during frying.

The natural source of trans fats comes from ruminant animals, such as cow, sheep or goat, as the rumen bacteria of these animals perform partial hydrogenation of part of the fatty acids, which are found in the leaves, stems and roots they eat, as well as feed content.

These trans fatty acids are absorbed and incorporated into the muscles and milk of animals and, for this reason, are found in beef, lamb and kid meat, as well as whole milk. In any case, the foods that contain trans fats in greater quantity are those baked such as biscuits, industrial pastries, precooked foods, snacks and fried foods such as chips, corn, and other snacks, along with ice cream, creams and smoothies.

The first effect of trans fatty acids is to increase total cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), while lowering HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and increasing triglycerides. Besides, its consumption generates inflammation at the level of the cells of the endothelium, which is the innermost layer of the arteries and which is in close contact with the circulating blood. Inflammatory factors play an important role in the development of diabetes, atherosclerosis, plaque rupture and sudden cardiac death.

And the chocolate?

As a curious fact, it is noteworthy that theine or caffeine are not harmful at low doses and that certain studies have shown that dark chocolate is beneficial at cardiovascular level. Spices can also be consumed without problem, as long as they do not incorporate salt.