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Healthy food, happy heart – EFE Salut

Don’t demonize fats, reduce salt consumption and take care of your diet: The second episode of the podcast “Sustainable food” helps you take care of your heart through diet.

Did you know that chronic non-communicable cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of global death? Many cardiovascular problems are hereditary, but our lifestyle and eating habits are still factors in our hands Take care of your heart with a healthier and more sustainable diet!

This is the message it conveys Noelia López, Nestlé nutritionist, in the new episode of the “Sustainable Food” podcast. Because our gastronomic culture allows us to follow one sustainable diet without giving up good food.

The question is to know how and find in food a way to take care of our heart.

The EFESalut and Nestlé podcast on Sustainable Food

Don’t demonize fats!

Fats and cardiovascular health do not usually go hand in hand. When we start looking after our diet, fats are the first thing we consider, although we often forget the role they play in the functioning of our body.

Fats are responsible for…

  • Provide energy
  • Regulate body temperature
  • Protect our organs
  • Allow the absorption of vitamins
  • Promote intestinal transit

That’s why the specialist insists: demonizing them is a mistake.

Not all are the same

Of course, not all fats are the same or have the same benefits.

“Excessive consumption of saturated fat predisposes to generating LDL cholesterol, known as bad cholesterol”, says the nutritionist.

Generating more LDL increases the risk of heart attack as more fat can build up in the arteries.

But it is a specific type of fat!

And it is that there are different types, differentiating themselves chemical structure. Do you know which one is which?

  • Saturated fats: present in butter, industrial pastries and fatty meats or fatty dairy products. They generally remain solid at room temperature.
  • Monounsaturated fats: we find them in the famous oleic acid. This type of fat has the ability to lower total cholesterol and LDL and is the reason why a healthy diet cannot be missing.
  • Polyunsaturated fats: present in nuts and seeds, although also in blue fish and some shellfish, it is a type of fat that is essential in a cardioprotective nutrition because they are precursors of the prostaglandins, molecules involved in inflammatory processes. These are fats that we cannot make in our bodies, but we get them from food.
    • The Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fat, a molecule with one vasodilatory and antiaggregating actionthat lowers LDL and raises good cholesterol (HDL)
    • The Omega 6 it’s another one. It also plays a vital role in nutrition, although it is generally consumed more than Omega 3 and should be the other way around.

what about salt

Another of the great enemies of heart-healthy diets is table salt, composed of chloride and sodium. And sodium is precisely the component we have to be careful with. Because, even if he is responsible for functions as important as the nerve impulsesabusing sodium is also one increased blood pressurewhich at the same time means the increase in heart diseases or cardiovascular accidents.

EFE/Iván Franco

“In Spain we consume around nine grams of salt a day per person, when what is recommended according to the WHO is not to exceed five a day”, assures Noelia López.

As Spaniards, we double the recommendation, which can pose a significant risk to our health. For this very reason, the nutritionist recommends the use of spices, garlic or lemon to intensify flavors and reduce the amount of salt we consume daily.

Increase your potassium intake!

But, in addition to reducing salt consumption, we can compensate: if we increase potassium consumption, we obtain the opposite effect to sodium. This mineral, present in foods such as bananas, helps maintain blood pressure at normal levels.

Better nutrition, better health for your heart

For a diet compatible with cardiovascular health, the specialist points to a series of nutrients whose benefits are, at the very least, worthy of mention.

  • Polyphenols: antioxidant found in fruits and many vegetables. They regenerate the walls of blood vessels and help normalize blood pressure.
  • Vitamin E: prevents the oxidation of fats and LDL cholesterol and the tamponade of blood vessels
  • phytosterols: we find it in legumes and nuts and these are very interesting molecules for a healthy diet.

Dismantling myths

As with everything, there are many and many myths regarding diet and its relationship to cardiovascular health. Noelia López receives the most widespread.

If I’m thin, shouldn’t I worry about my cardiovascular health?

false. Weight is no guarantee for cardiovascular health. Hypertension or excess blood cholesterol may be present in people within the indicated weight.

Is sea salt better than refined salt?

false. Regardless of its origin, salt provides sodium, a component that causes hypertension problems.

Should older people be more concerned about salt?

false. We should all be concerned about this. It is a mineral that does not understand ages.

The Nestlé nutritionist is clear: your age will not save you from hypertension, don’t trust yourself!

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