Heart-healthy eating tips from the expert

Heart-healthy eating: 12 foods for the heartProtecting the heart with the right diet? Sounds good, or? Learn which foods are good for heart health and how to prevent heart disease.


Cardiovascular diseases are widespread in Germany. Causes are often too high blood prere or overweight. Dietician Peggy Schone from the Helios Weiberitztal-Kliniken reveals which diet has a positive effect on heart health or what you should rather do without.

What is a heart-healthy diet?

With the right diet, you can strengthen your heart and positively counteract risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood prere and obesity. A healthy diet can reduce the risk of heart disease.

The secret of a healthy diet is quite simple:

– lots of fresh vegetables – low-sugar fruit – fish instead of meat, even better vegetarian – high-quality oils – whole grain products rich in fiber – legumes and nuts – little sugar and sweets

"A heart-healthy diet is rich in essential fatty acids from plant sources, phytochemicals, fiber-rich whole grains, and fruits and vegetables", says Peggy Schone.

Fiber-rich it may be

Dietary fiber soaks up excess cholesterol, nevertheless, a cholesterol-conscious diet should be observed. While cholesterol is not bad per se, for example, it is needed to build cell walls. But excess strains the cardiovascular system by obstructing blood flow through deposits (plaques) in the vessels. Plaques form over time when diet has been too high in cholesterol for years. Coronary heart disease can be a consequence.

Eat the right fats

Recent studies show that canola oil is better replaced with olive oil when frying. It is important Olive oil with the label "extra virgin" is. Olive oil contains polyphenols, which also act as antioxidants and are thus anti-inflammatory. Coconut oil or ghee can also be heated to high temperatures without developing harmful substances.

"The secret is in the temperature: canola oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil have a less complex structure of heart-friendly fatty acids and can do more harm than good when heated to high temperatures, as unhealthy trans fats are formed", so the Diatassistentin. Trans fatty acids can increase LDL cholesterol in the blood and increase the "good" cholesterol in the blood Lower HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can be deposited in blood vessels. Igniting silent inflammation in the body.

Olive oil extra virgin is purely mechanically pressed, without the action of heat. This means that valuable substances such as antioxidants are present in their entirety. Make the oil "stable" even when heated (no harmful substances are produced).

Use secondary plant substances

Secondary plant substances do not count as essential nutrients. But you have Influence on a variety of metabolic processes. Among other things, they can be found in Vegetables, fruits, potatoes, legumes, nuts and whole grains.

Especially in turmeric, ginger, chokeberry, barley grass, grapes, berries, tomatoes, citrus fruits or even celery stalks. Secondary plant compounds scavenge free radicals and protect the heart. The expert advises: "Best according to the traffic light principle" Eat red-yellow-green every day."

Heart-healthy eating tips from the expert

The heart-healthy diet is rich in essential fatty acids from plant sources, phytochemicals, fiber-rich whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.

Omega-3 fatty acids

There should be a clear preference for omega-3 fatty acids over omega-6 fatty acids as found in meat, sausage and dairy products. Because "Omega-3 fatty acids keep the vessels elastic and nourish the nerves with sufficient momentum into old age", says Peggy Schone. Sea fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna are good suppliers of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating twice a week is best. Other sources of nutrients are walnuts, almonds, flaxseed, linseed oil, hemp oil and algae oil.

Anti-aging and regeneration

Quercetin supports the body's own regeneration and inactivates free radicals. Found in apples, walnuts, onions and leeks.

Spermidine ensures a vital heart and is found in mushrooms, broccoli and sprouts.

Better in moderation

Coffee in moderation has liver-protective properties. two cups a day are harmless. This also applies to the partially decaffeinated or decaffeinated variants.

With substances such as alcohol one should not exaggerate. While a glass of red wine, which is rich in flavonoids, can support the cardiovascular system, too much alcohol quickly has a negative effect on health. Therefore: drink rarely and if, then only in moderation.

Why is Mediterranean cuisine so good for the heart??

In the teaching kitchen, Peggy Schone explains to her patients what is important in a heart-healthy diet | Photo: Helios

Mediterranean cuisine is particularly well suited to preventing cardiovascular disease. It is rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy olive oil as well as many fresh ingredients. Classic sausage sandwiches or cheese sandwiches, which are often served in German households, do not exist there. Meat consumption is also lower. Prepared in combination with light vegetable sauces.

"The proportion of vegetables in Mediterranean cuisine is exceptionally high and varied. In Germany, we prefer to eat fruit instead of vegetables", says the dietician. However, she advises that it is best to reach for sweet fruit only twice a day.

Fresh fish often comes directly from the sea to the plate. Fish variety provides a good protein-fat mix. While lean fish are good sources of protein, fatty fish provide a high proportion of valuable omega-3 fatty acids.

Benefits of the Mediterranean diet

– regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels – positive effect on blood prere – rich in unsaturated fatty acids – has a positive effect on weight – has an anti-inflammatory effect

"It is not the food alone. Time and enjoyment also play a role in Mediterranean cuisine", says the Weiberitztaler.

It's the quantity that counts: Components of a heart-healthy diet

Fruit twice a day and vegetables three times a day

The Mediterranean cuisine shows the way: More vegetables, less fruit. The choice should be colorful. Be varied. Whether the vegetables are eaten raw or cooked does not matter. Vegetables can also be frozen, but without a ready-made sauce.

High-fiber products

Attention: Grains are not equal to whole grains. Therefore, also pay attention to the term "whole grain in the list of ingredients when shopping. The biggest trap is malfa bread. The dark and healthy appearing bread is only colored with sugar syrup.

Dairy products and eggs in moderation

You can have up to three servings daily of dairy products, buttermilk, cheese up to 45% fat i.Tr., Take yogurt, cottage cheese without added sugar. Milk should not be used for drinking, but only as an additive in coffee. For large quantities, it is better to use plant milk. This is cholesterol-free, hormone-free, always well tolerated.

By the way, eggs are also allowed. In total, up to three eggs per week are okay.

Fish instead of meat and sausage

Fatty meats contain a lot of cholesterol. Sausage is often very salty. If you do not want to do without meat and sausage, try to switch to leaner varieties such as chicken, venison or beef. But meat should not end up on your plate more than two or three times a week. And also pork is allowed, but in moderation.

The following applies to sausage: meat should be visible in the cut. Steer clear of varieties such as lyonnaise, bologna or salami. Better are roast cold cuts, ham or aspic.

Switch to lean fish as a good source of protein and fatty fish with a high content of valuable omega-3 fatty acids and integrate it into the diet more often.

Oils and fats

Use olive oil, preferably extra virgin, for hot cooking. For the cold kitchen linseed oil or hemp oil are suitable. Butter is also allowed. Do not harm the heart. If butter is stored in a dark place outside the refrigerator, it will remain spreadable.

Use salt sparingly

Use salt sparingly

Salt binds water in the body and can have a negative effect on the prere in the vessels and thus on blood prere. The dietician says "Add salt only as much as necessary. In bread, sausage and cheese is usually processed more than enough salt. Fresh herbs for seasoning are also an alternative."

Less sugar

Too much sugar often leads to obesity or increases blood sugar levels, which has an unfavorable effect on blood vessels. Therefore, avoid sugars-. Starchy foods. Have a negative effect on insulin levels. Can trigger cravings.

Water instead of wine

Liquid is important. About 30 milliliters per kilogram of body weight is a good measure. It is best to drink mineral water or unsweetened teas. Now and then it may also be a beer or a glass of wine, preferably red wine.

Which foods are bad for the heart?

"I recommend a sensible, enjoyable and lively approach to all foods. As is so often the case, it all comes down to the right amount", says Peggy Schone.

It only becomes critical when, for example, trans fats and sugar are consumed to a high degree in convenience products. It is best to cook fresh. Food varied.

Which 10 foods are especially good for the heart?

– Berries – broccoli – nuts – salmon – olive oil – linseed oil – wholemeal bread – algae – sprouts – flaxseed – tomatoes – mackerel

"The above foods are only a rough selection. They are all rich in valuable ingredients that have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system," says Peggy Schone.

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