The Role of Diet in Preventing Heart Diseases

What is cholesterol? Why is it harmful?
Cholesterol is a type of fat that can be synthesized in our body, which is used in the construction of new cells in the body, repair of nerve cells and hormone production. Cholesterol is only found in foods of animal origin, there is no cholesterol in plant foods. Cholesterol exists in different forms in the body. The most important are LDL and HDL. In simple terms; LDL—“bad” cholesterol—increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, while HDL—“good” cholesterol—reduces the risk. Therefore, it is not only the total amount of cholesterol in the blood that matters, but also the type of cholesterol. This type of cholesterol, which we call LDL, accumulates on the vessel walls and causes atherosclerosis, leading to occlusion in the coronary vessels and heart attack. High cholesterol is an insidious enemy, and its height causes disease without causing any complaints or symptoms. Therefore, high cholesterol treatment is not a simple cold and flu treatment, but should be continued for a lifetime.

Prevention of heart diseases and healthy nutrition;
There are some points that we all know but fall into error in practice. There is no very special diet to protect heart health. In fact, following a healthy diet is also best for the heart. It is enough to know that some foods have a cholesterol-lowering effect, and some contain fats that are harmful to the heart, and pay attention to them.
First of all, be careful not to fill your stomach with meals. Excess carbohydrates and proteins are converted into fat in the body and stored. For this reason, it is necessary to get up from the table without being satiated. Eat in small plates. You will eat less and your eyes will be full. 30% of total daily calories should be taken from fats. Saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats should be present in equal proportions.
In addition, as much as possible, do not eat foods that you do not know outside and with what kind of oil they are prepared. Because at the moment, it is imported to European Union countries and pastry and so on. Unfortunately, many types of oil (palm oil, etc.) that are forbidden to be used in products are imported to our country in abundance. Such oils, which are converted into margarine, are solid at room temperature. They are rich in fatty acids, which we call saturated, which are extremely harmful to the heart. Good fats are liquid oils and they contain more unsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial for the heart and protect against atherosclerosis. Cholesterol is an animal product and is not found in vegetable oils. Butter is solid and contains cholesterol, but is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. It also contains vitamin E. If solid fat is to be used, butter can be preferred to margarines. But care must be taken that it is pure and not a fraudulent product mixed with solid fats.
Fast food type foods should definitely not be consumed outside. The potatoes in them are deep-fried to make them delicious and crunchy. In fact, all frying is harmful, no matter which fat or oil is used. Because overheating and even burning fat contains substances that are very harmful to the vessels of your heart. For this reason, if possible, the onion should not be fried with oil while preparing food, and the oil should be added raw, that is, after the meal is cooked.
Also, in general, olive oil is slightly superior to other oils in liquid oils, so it can be preferred. But if olive oil is beneficial, it should not mean that we should consume it abundantly. Because a little decision is most harmful, and when taken in excess, it is stored and increases cholesterol synthesis.

In the prevention of heart diseases, regular exercise and weight control are as important as nutrition and drugs, but unfortunately, it is the most neglected issue. It is very, very useful for every person to walk quickly for 30-45 minutes 3-4 days a week, to do light jogging or to do aerobic exercises. They both play a role in cholesterol control and strengthen your heart and blood vessels. During the exercise, you should make an effort so that you can talk comfortably with the person next to you. There’s not much use in over-exerting.
In general, after giving this information, if we give some examples by taking the food groups we consume frequently, it will probably be easier for you to choose healthier things for your heart;

Cereals, legumes and bakery products;
Whole wheat and rye bread, lean crackers, oatmeal, pasta, noodles, bulgur, brown rice, beans, chickpeas, lentils are recommended. They contain plenty of vitamin E and vitamin B. But attention should be paid to the portions. Buns, cookies, rolls, cakes, dry cakes and oily biscuits should be avoided. However, rice pilaf should be consumed less as it is oily and has plenty of calories. (The calorie of a spoonful of rice pilaf is close to the same amount of granulated sugar.)

Dairy products,
Fat-free or reduced-fat milk and dairy products (ligth cheese and yoghurt) should be preferred. Two whole eggs (with yolk) per week can be eaten boiled. You can eat the white as much as you want. But if you made a pie and put eggs in it, then you shouldn’t eat eggs that week. Cream, cream, whipped cream, cream cheese, yoghurt with cream and butter should not be eaten.

Vegetables and fruits;
All of them can be eaten safely, provided that they are fresh, but it should not be forgotten that the fruits that are eaten too much turn into fat in the body. Also, fried vegetables should not be eaten. Potato chips are extremely harmful to the heart. It is salty and increases blood pressure, and it is fried. If you eat an apple a day, you don’t have to be afraid of heart disease. The fiber called pectin in apples attaches itself to cholesterol. Thus, it prevents cholesterol from passing to the vascular wall. Onions and garlic are foods that fight hard for the health of your heart. The substances they contain prevent oxidation of cholesterol and damage to the walls of the vessels and prevent blood from clotting.
The substance called lycopene, which makes tomatoes turn red, prevents cholesterol from accumulating in the arteries. Let’s say that tomato paste is a good weapon against cholesterol.
Grapefruit It is a storehouse of vitamin C. In addition, the substance that gives color to the pink grapefruit is an antioxidant that protects the vessels from the destruction of cholesterol.

Meats and seafood ;
All greasy-looking meat, salami, sausage, sausage, pastrami and offal should be avoided. Provided that it is lean, veal, skinless chicken, turkey, fish meat can be grilled, steamed or boiled or used in meals. Fish should be eaten without frying. Unlike meat, fatty fish is preferred. In other words, fish such as bluefish, bluefish, anchovies, imported frozen mackerel should be preferred over lean tuna, bonito, etc. Shrimp, squid, lobster and mussels contain plenty of cholesterol. In addition, mussels are extremely harmful because they are consumed both by frying and because they contain elements such as lead and mercury, which we call heavy metals, especially in Marmara.

Desserts;
Unfortunately, Turkish cuisine is very rich in this regard, but most of them are not good for the heart. Baklava and kadayif shops on every corner whet people’s appetite. Most of them use imported oils with shortening or butter essence to make it delicious in desserts. They also use glucose syrup, which is frequently used in industry, instead of regular sugar. Rapidly absorbed glucose causes severe insulin secretion, which causes various diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. When you eat such sweets, you can taste the fat that freezes in your mouth and the sour taste of glucose syrup that burns your throat while swallowing the bite. Please eat them very carefully. Cream cakes, profiteroles, and ice cream are actually not very healthy things because of their high cholesterol or fat content. But milk and milk desserts can be preferred because they do not contain much solid fat and are rich in protein and calcium. Aşure, tahini-molasses, walnut dip, fruit pulp and sausages, fruit salads should be preferred as desserts.

Nuts;
Since walnuts, almonds, chestnuts and hazelnuts are rich in unsaturated fats, they have blood cholesterol lowering effects and should be preferred. Peanuts, pistachios, salted nuts and coconut should be consumed sparingly. Hazelnuts and walnuts contain plenty of vitamin E, which protects the veins. They contain zinc, fiber and magnesium. Throw a handful of hazelnuts or 2-3 fresh walnuts in your pocket and have a snack.

Beverages and alcohol;
Tea, coffee, instant coffee, low-calorie soft drinks, tomato juice, fresh fruit juices can be safely drunk without using too much sugar and without exaggerating their amounts. However, those that contain additives such as sodium benzoate and protective salts are sources of extra salt for high blood pressure patients. Drinking large amounts of alcohol should also be avoided as much as possible. However, recent studies have shown that there are substances called cholesterol-reducing flavonoids in fermented alcoholic beverages, red wine and whiskey, and a small glass of red wine at dinner is good.
In the past, heart patients were forbidden to drink tea. Today, it is claimed that tea is extremely beneficial for the heart. The antioxidant substances (flavonoids) contained in the tea prevent the accumulation of cholesterol on the walls of the vessels, and the possibility of blood clots to block the vessels is reduced. However, drinking too much and taking it immediately after meals can prevent the absorption of iron in foods. If you are a tea drinker, it would be good to get used to drinking less sugar or no sugar. Green tea and herbal teas can also be drunk instead of black tea.

Olive oil
If you use olive oil in meals, the amount of cholesterol in your blood will decrease and your blood pressure will be regulated. Extra virgin or natural olive oil, which contains unsaturated fatty acids called essential, is more preferable. In the diet known as Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil is used raw in meals and salads. It is accepted all over the world.
Heart diseases are the greatest enemy of all humanity. Let’s not forget that deaths from heart diseases are rapidly decreasing in developed countries and they achieve this decrease with the development of preventive medicine services. In them, heart attack has now become a disease of advanced age. Why shouldn’t we be like this, why should our people succumb to heart disease at a young age? In our country, it is very important that groups with a lower socioeconomic level can reach and consume healthy foods and raise awareness of the whole society for healthy nutrition. If I have contributed a pinch of thyme to the soup in this regard (salt is harmful, I did not want to add salt), I will feel happy, I wish you all a healthy and enjoyable day.

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