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Nutrition: what’s best for your heart?

Keep calm and take care of your heart – avoiding stress is one of the more widely known tips for keeping your heart healthy. Today, we have decided to take a closer look at some more tips for maintaining cardiovascular health. Why we need to do more for our heart than just count calories and impose restrictions on ourselves, which foods are good for our hearts and how lifestyle changes can help – here are our tips for a strong and healthy heart.

The heart and blood vessels are a well-rehearsed and high-performing team that ensures our physical well-being and promotes vitality and emotional stability by supplying our organs with nutrients at all times. This collective deserves the very best treatment, because if any part of the system falters, this can be a stressful and frightening experience. Good and well-intentioned advice is generally available from all quarters: avoid fatty foods and meat, reduce your salt intake, avoid alcohol, weigh and measure your body regularly (body fat, blood pressure, waist circumference), stop smoking right away, get plenty of exercise, drink lots of water, don’t eat sugary foods, don’t drink too much coffee, count your calories, lower your cholesterol and most importantly, lower your stress levels!

Stress as a risk factor: staying healthy by staying calm

Of course, we should always take any advice and recommendations from doctors and healthcare practitioners to heart – quite literally in this case! But how are you supposed to stay calm while at the same time integrating so many (in some cases completely new) rules into your life? We think it’s definitely worth a try! After all, you’re going to have to try something new if you want to make things better. So let’s try to keep stress at bay and face the future with confidence.

Scientists have been researching the connection between stress and cardiovascular disease for years. Perhaps this is one of the first aspects we should address when considering lifestyle changes. More information on the topic of stress & resilience

Eat your heart out

It’s not just what we eat that has an effect on our well-being, how we eat is important as well. Eating a balanced and varied diet does not automatically mean giving up your favorite foods. You can continue to enjoy a wide variety of foods while giving priority to nutrient-rich, plant-based food. That way, you can still treat yourself to a slice of cake or piece of chocolate once in a while. Eat food you enjoy, otherwise you’ll find it impossible to integrate all this well-intentioned advice into your life. An important practical tip: take plenty of time to savor your meal and avoid distractions. It generally takes around 20 minutes before you feel full. Fast eaters will eat more during these 20 minutes than people who savor their food. If you are distracted, you may even miss your body’s satiety cues. So instead of radically eliminating everything that previously brought us pleasure and enjoyment, let’s try to be more mindful of our body and its needs. A beautifully laid table and a comfortable place to eat have just as much effect on our well-being as the choice of food. Eating slowly helps us to relax and become more aware of specific flavors.

 

Heart-friendly foods:

Which foods are good for your heart? 

  • Blueberries, apples, raspberries, spinach, kohlrabi & co: Eat your fruit and veggies! Your meal plan should include five portions a day – variety is important! This isn’t all that complicated; one portion equals one or two handfuls (of berries or chopped vegetables). Fruits and vegetables contain lots of minerals and vitamins. For example, vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis for healthy blood vessel function and helps to protect cells from oxidative stress.
    Biogena tip: Cardio Support Q10 GOLD
  • Linseed oil: When compared to other vegetable oils, the oil obtained from linseed has one of the highest concentrations of omega-3. Linseeds have an approximately 40% fat content and up to 56% is the unsaturated omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. Consuming at least 2g of alpha-linolenic acid, the equivalent of a single teaspoonful of linseed oil, per day can help maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.
  • Nuts: Dietary fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin E, and B vitamins: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and other nuts are packed with nutrients. As a healthy treat between meals, nuts also make it easier to reduce the amount of salty and sugary snacks you consume.
  • Lentils, peas, beans: Our hearts just love plant-based food. There are so many delicious vegetarian recipes out there that include pulses. Lentils, peas and peanuts are rich in vitamin B1 (thiamine), which helps regulate the nervous system and contributes to healthy heart function.
  • Trout, char, catfish and carp: Our native Austrian fishes are important sources of omega-3. To meet the body’s requirements for these valuable fatty acids, health experts recommend that we eat fish once or twice a week, and occasionally high-fat fish such as salmon, mackerel or herring. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in fish help support normal heart function.
  • Whole grains: Whole grain products are not just excellent sources of dietary fiber; whole grain flours from spelt, rye or buckwheat also have high potassium content. Potassium plays an important role in heart health as it helps to maintain normal blood pressure. Whole grain products are also good sources of magnesium. Magnesium plays a key role in maintaining your electrolyte balance and interacts with potassium in a number of important metabolic processes. For example, low magnesium levels can bring about excessive loss of potassium.
  • Grape seeds and pine bark: Granted, grape seeds and the bark of the French maritime pine are unlikely to make an appearance on anyone’s daily menu. Nevertheless, we would still like to recommend them here, because pine bark extract contains a high proportion of proanthocyanidins, while grape seed extract supplies valuable polyphenols. Pine bark extract protects the blood vessel walls and supports blood circulation. 
  • Biogena tip: Pycnogenol Superior 100 GOLD

 

Biogena offers a range of micronutrient compounds to supplement your heart-healthy diet. Let us advise you and help you find the products that best meet your personal needs.

Mindfulness as preventive care

Who, in particular, needs to take precautions and stick to a couple of basic heart rules when it comes to their diet? How do you create the best possible conditions for your cardiovascular system? This includes eliminating certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as smoking, too much alcohol, poor eating habits, low physical activity and too much stress, and their consequences. The measures you can take to improve your cardiovascular health are just as varied and diverse as individuals and their lifestyles. Often enough, even the tiniest changes can make an enormous difference. For some people, a lifestyle change means placing the focus on regular exercise, for others it is a matter of avoiding animal fats or alcohol.

One thing is certain; everyone benefits from a balanced diet, regular exercise and lower stress levels, even if they don’t have a family history of cardiovascular problems. The main thing is to ask yourself a few questions: How can I best help my body to stay healthy? Which nutrients do I need? What’s good for me and my heart? Which kinds of food will provide me with energy, and which kinds will make me feel tired and listless? How can I stay in shape? Which type of sport is the best fit for me and which do I enjoy most? What kinds of fruit do I like best? Which vegetables should I eat?

Collecting knowledge

All of these questions have answers. For some answers, you may need a blood test and a conversation with your doctor. For others, you’re going to have to dig deep inside yourself and listen to your heart.

 

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