Foods at the heart of nutrition
Heart disease prevention means we can enjoy a great variety of delicious foods that will diversify our culinary experiences and bring us extraordinary gastronomic pleasure.
Studies have shown the consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of coronary disorders. This effect is particularly significant for green vegetables, (cabbage, broccoli, etc.), and those rich in vitamin C (green vegetables in general). Specifically, each daily portion of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of coronary disease, which is an incentive to eat these foods as often as possible.
- Whole grains – Replacing white bread with bread containing whole grains could reduce the risk of coronary disease and stroke. Whole grains are one of those foods whose remarkable impact on the prevention of chronic diseases is greatly underestimated. We are so accustomed to the presence of refined flour in almost all of our cereal products that we forget just how much this refining eliminates most of the beneficial constituents of the grain.
- Nuts – Nuts are often dismissed because of their high fat content. They are a source of monounsaturated fats that are beneficial to the health of the cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that daily consumption of one portion of nuts reduces the risk of coronary disease. This effect is even more pronounced if the nuts are replacing “processed” snacks rich in sugar, saturated fats, or Trans fats.
- Omega-3s – Omega-3 oils can come from marine, animal and plant sources. You should try to include omega-3 oils from all of these sources as part of a healthy eating pattern.
- Green tea – A recent study has shown that the consumption of green tea rapidly improves the function of the endothelia cells lining the circulatory system; endothelial dysfunction is the key event in the progression of atherosclerosis (thickening of the artery walls)
- Chocolate – People who regularly consume 70% dark chocolate (about 20g or two squares of a standard bar per day) show a marked improvement in blood flow, while no improvement is observed in those who eat “processed” chocolate, which contains very little cocoa paste. It seems that the positive effect of dark chocolate is linked to a property in its polyphenols that releases a chemical messenger, nitric oxide, which increases arterial dilatation, at the same time improving blood flow and reducing platelet aggregation.
- Pumpkin Seeds – These are packed with stress relieving magnesium, plus protein and healthy fats to keep those hunger cravings at bay.
- Avocado – These are rich in vitamin B especially B5, which is important for adrenal health. Its creamy texture may help reduce cravings and being rich in monounsaturated fat and protein, it may help to satisfy appetite too.