Maintaining a poor diet is one of the factors contributing to cardiovascular risk. Therefore following a balanced diet is crucial to caring for our health, as a balanced diet provides our body with all the necessary ingredients: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and microelements.
Even slight improvements in our daily diet can provide measurable health benefits. Caring for a healthy heart requires mindful eating, choosing non-processed and top-quality food, which contrary to common belief, does not have to be expensive. Preparing your own healthy food does not have to be time-consuming either. Just try and you will see for yourself that maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is not difficult. In order to protect your cardiovascular system, a diet based on substantial amounts of fruits and vegetables is especially recommended. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, flavonoids, minerals, and fibre. They can be served raw, steam-boiled or grilled and should be the basis of each meal. It is also advisable to substitute white bread, pasta, and white rice with whole-grain products, groats, and brown rice, which contain complex carbohydrates. Red meat (particularly fatty red meat) should be consumed only several times a month. It is recommended that instead of consuming red meat, one should consume lean chicken, turkey, lamb or veal meat. Limiting the consumption of fatty cheeses, butter, and cream is also recommended as they, along with fatty red meat, are rich in saturated fatty acids. Avoiding saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids (present in highly processed food, fast foods, candy bars, cookies, and donuts) in your daily diet is also recommended. Instead, it is recommended to consume only the necessary saturated fatty acids (NNKT), which include omega-3 acids (DHA, EPA, ALA). Fat sea fish, canola oil, and olive oil provide a rich source of omega-3 acids (more on omega-3 acids).
The basis of a healthy diet includes:
- - consuming vegetables and fruits as part of each meal,
- - consuming fat sea fish rich with omega-3 acids and other sources of non-saturated fatty acids (canola oil, olive oil),
- - avoiding fat and red meat in our daily diet, which should be substituted with lean meat (chicken, turkey, lamb, and veal),
- - substituting fatty cheeses, milk, and cream with low-fat dairy products,
- - limiting the consumption of fast food, chips, fried or highly processed food,
- - preparing food by braising with no prior frying, baking in an oven or grilling, and steam boiling
- - limiting the consumption of sweets, cookies, sweetened beverages (instead, reach for nuts, dried fruits, fresh fruit and vegetable juices),
- - substituting white bread, white rice and highly processed flour products with whole-grain products, brown rice or groats.