Nutrition, Lifestyle and cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular diseases are conditions in which the heart and vessels are affected. This means having a huge amount of fat accumulated around the heart, making it less easy for it to function. It also means having high amounts of “bad cholesterol” or LDL in the blood, and low amounts of the “good cholesterol” also known as HDL in the circulation. Not to mention hypertriglyceridemia, and poor blood vessels quality making them become less elastic and narrower. Many risk factors and responsible for these cases, some of them are not modifiable such as genetics and age. But most of the other risk factors can be modified and they are related to the life style followed and the nutritional habits. We will explain these modifiable factors in order to guide you about how to remain healthy and avoid having cardiovascular diseases that can be fatal in some cases.

 

Obesity is the major factor that can cause cardiovascular disorders, especially the abdominal obesity that can be seen commonly among men. Therefore, it is important to know how to consume the right amount of calories daily in order to avoid eating an excess of calories. To know more about calorie counting, consult your dietitian and make sure to visit a reliable and professional one.

Another factor related to cardiovascular risk is the quality of the diet plan you are following. One should always avoid fried foods and those that are rich in saturated fats such as cookies, biscuits, potato chips, fries, butter… You should not exclude fats from your diet, but make sure you choose the right kinds such as those found in olives and olive oil, peanut butter and avocado. Concerning dairy products, always aim for reduced fat milk and cheese, or even skimmed ones. Talking about meat, chicken and fish, always search for lean meats and chicken such as consuming chicken breast instead of the thigh, and picking lean cuts. Do not fry your meats, but instead choose grilling them. Try to consume a salad daily, and pick fruits as snacks.

Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco use and stress are essential for a good cardiovascular health and condition. Do not consume more than 1 glass of alcohol daily, and aim for red wine as a first choice. Reducing tobacco use and even stopping it is always a good thing to do.

And finally, an important factor that can affect cardiovascular health is physical activity. Being active helps increasing HDL levels, avoiding hypertension and increasing insulin sensitivity. It is recommended to follow a steady and strict exercise program by exercising for at least 60 minutes daily, and choosing cardiovascular activities such as running, swimming and cycling, but also including resistance exercises such as weight lifting and strength training.

Do not neglect these tips because they are your only way to have a healthy heart and vessels in good condition throughout your life.

 

Elie Saadé & Stéphanie Nassar – Dietitians at Elie Saadé Dietary Clinic (ESDC) 

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