Mediterranean cuisine is good for the heart and circulation

Mediterranean food is good for the heart and circulation
Mediterranean food is the food traditionally consumed by the Mediterranean population. This diet is not a uniform diet, there are variations depending on the region. Research has long shown that this form of nutrition is very high quality and healthy.

Vegetables and fruits provide fiber, vitamins and minerals. The less the fruit and vegetables are treated, the more valuable it is. The raw food portion of the Mediterranean diet is particularly high.

Typical of the classic Mediterranean food is:
- A high proportion of plant-based foods, i.e. vegetables, legumes and fruits
- Plenty of fish and seafood
- Olive oil as the main source of fat
- Cereal products such as bread and pasta
- nuts and seeds
- milk and cheese
- Little meat

Fish and seafood are rich in high-quality protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids. These have a positive effect on cholesterol levels and our cardiovascular system. They are abundant in freshly caught sea fish, which together with olive oil, vegetables and herbs are part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean food.

Olive oil is used to prepare most dishes, but animal fats are only used to a limited extent. The oleic acid contained in olive oil is said to have cholesterol-lowering properties, which protect the cardiovascular system. Olives are also important from a nutritional point of view. They provide valuable fatty acids and counteract high cholesterol levels. Olives are often served as a snack or as an antipasti.

Bread and pasta are important sources of energy and must not be missing from any meal. The grain used in the production contains important vitamins, minerals and digestive fiber.

Nuts and seeds are delicious power plants and give a lot of energy. They also contain valuable protein and are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins and valuable fatty acids. Combined with honey, they are a popular snack that also strengthens the immune system.

Milk and cheese are also included in the Mediterranean diet and are consumed in moderation. These products provide plenty of vital substances: milk protein, vitamins, minerals. Acidified milk products, which have a long tradition in warm countries, contain digestive-regulating lactic acid bacteria, cheese provides us with calcium, which we need for our bone health.

Meat is used less frequently in the classic Mediterranean diet than is common in the kitchens of Northern Europe and North America. Above all, the proportion of pork is lower, but traditionally more lamb, goat and poultry are consumed.

Proper nutrition protects the heart and circulation
In 2015, cardiovascular diseases were the number one cause of death in Germany with over 39% of all deaths. Most of the diseases are based on hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), which leads to heart attacks and strokes. There are many reasons for the development of arteriosclerosis: increased cholesterol and blood lipid levels due to an incorrect, especially too high-fat diet with many animal foods, overweight, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, stress. Age, gender and genetic factors also play a role.

A reduction in meat and fat intake is recommended both as a preventive measure and to improve the symptoms. This also reduces the intake of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol. This can easily be achieved with Mediterranean food. Due to the many fresh ingredients, it is also naturally rich in vital substances. Vitamins C and E, for example, have a positive effect on vascular function. Magnesium and potassium are important for heart contraction, fiber increases the "good" and lowers the "bad" cholesterol. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids keep the arteries young and are important for the heart and circulation. The omega-3 fatty acids found in marine fish are also confirmed to have a positive effect on our cardiovascular system. With lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, fish and olive oil, the Mediterranean diet is ideal for protecting your heart and circulation.

Holiday food is good for the heart
Heart researchers and nutritionists therefore recommend us a diet as we know it from a holiday in southern countries: less meat, but more sea fish and lots of fruits and vegetables. Fresh ingredients in combination with high-quality vegetable oils such as z. B. Olive oil and avocado oil.

This is how we can protect ourselves
If you want to do something good for your heart and circulation, you should concentrate on two things: regular physical activity and a healthy diet. This also includes the daily glass of red wine. The secondary plant substances contained in the delicious grape juice, especially polyphenols, have strong antioxidant properties. Enjoyed in moderation, red wine should therefore protect the heart and vessels. (sb)

Author and source information

Video: Think Whole Food, Not Out of the Box for Heart Healthy Diet (January 2022).