According to the latest statistics of the Ministry of Health and Welfare for 110 years, heart disease is the second among the top ten causes of death in China, with an average of 1 person dying of heart disease every 24 minutes. People usually strengthen their awareness of heart health. By maintaining a healthy weight, eating a good diet, exercising, quitting smoking and other healthy lifestyle patterns, they can establish correct heart care habits. When it comes to eating, choose a Mediterranean diet to help protect your cardiovascular system.
Among many diets, the Mediterranean diet has been proven to have comprehensive health benefits, one of which is to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Zhang Aipiao, a nutritionist at Taoyuan Hospital of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, shared three secrets of the Mediterranean diet:
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables, unrefined grains and legumes
The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of plant-based foods, daily consumption of a variety of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, which provide rich dietary fiber, access to a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and different phytochemicals, which are all natural antioxidants. Oxidants have the effect of protecting the cardiovascular system in the body. In addition, soybeans and soy products are high-quality plant-based protein sources. It is recommended to replace part of the meat in the diet with soy products, and eat the two together.
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2. Use unsaturated fats such as olive oil for cooking
Olive oil is often used in the Mediterranean region, while in Taiwan, oil products with higher monounsaturated fatty acid content such as bitter tea oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, and canola oil can be used. Saturated fats such as lard and chicken fat, as well as trans fats such as margarine and ghee commonly used in baking, are not good for cardiovascular health, and the frequency of consumption should be reduced. In addition, you can ingest an appropriate amount of nuts every day, such as peanuts, sesame, walnuts, cashews, etc., to absorb high-quality fats.
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3. Eat more fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
Consume fish or seafood at least twice a week, followed by poultry, eggs and dairy products such as chicken and duck. Mackerel, saury, milkfish, etc. are fish products rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, cannot be synthesized by the human body and must be ingested from the diet, which can improve arteriosclerosis and thrombosis, thereby preventing occurrence of cardiovascular disease. Also, avoid red meat and processed products to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol intake.
The Mediterranean diet is actually not complicated. A vegetable and fruit salad with your favorite fish, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with a little nuts, is a simple dish that everyone can get started with, and you can start trying right away.
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◎ Image source/Provided by Dazhi Image/shutterstock
◎ Source: Taoyuan Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare
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