Studies from around the world suggest that there is a correlation between regular diet and cardiovascular risk. Experts from the Polish Institute of Food and Nutrition (IŻŻ) remind that the fundamental importance of diet in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular prevention has been long recognised.

Changing nutritional habits helps manage atherosclerosis risk factors such as cholesterol level in the blood, which is a major factor in the highly-mortal coronary heart disease and one of its underlying causes - obesity.

The Mediterranean diet and fish are recommended

Abundant in olive oil, nuts, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest and most effective methods of preventing heart diseases and strokes.

According to experts, a recommended way to curb cardiovascular risk and keep cholesterol levels in check is to, first of all, give up meat for one or two days a week, use olive oil for cooking, and to switch from carbohydrate and fat-rich snacks to a handful of nuts every now and then.

Current studies have suggested that eating fish at least twice a week reduces cardiovascular risk, including in particular the risk of sudden cardiac death. This is true for individuals both with and without coronary heart diseases and related complications.

Such diseases are much less prevalent in populations that eat much fish, including, for example, inhabitants of Alaska or Japanese living in fishing villages.

Recommended diet for hypertensions and coronary heart disease

The Experts of the IŻŻ recommend that hypertensive individuals should cut down on calories and fats, including above all the saturated ones. Also, they should eat more vegetables and fruit (especially those with much potassium), and to change cooking habits, so that the food is boiled, stewed or foil-roasted without the use of fat.

Moreover, it is a good idea to significantly reduce sodium by replacing traditional salt with herbal, magnesium and potassium salt. One should stay away from salty products such as crisps, fast food, smoked meat, pickled products, canned food, and also cut down on caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and strong tea.

Recommended products include peas, beans, soya bean, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, bran, common walnuts, bananas, Brussels sprout, garlic, basil and parsley.

Similar recommendations apply to coronary patients. Experts advise they should eat five meals a day, boil and stew without the use of fat, roast in foil and using gridiron, cut down on animal fat, eat fish 2-3 times a week, eat more raw vegetables and fruit, and also fibre-rich foods. Also beneficial are such products as olive oil, lean skinless poultry, milk and low-fat milk products and whole wheat bread.

Wine – friend or foe?

It is believed that wine protects from heart diseases, if consumed moderately. Studies have confirmed this – 10 to 30 gram of alcohol a day can reduce cardiovascular risk by 25–40 percent.

Alcohol, however, is not recommended for prevention because of the potential negative effects of habitual drinking. It is estimated that this method of prevention would cause alcohol abuse among 5–7 percent of teetotallers or casual drinkers.

Aside from that, alcohol abuse can cause cardiovascular problems.

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