Cardiovascular diseases are the first cause of death of the population in our country. With the’heart attack and stroke, which account for over 40% of all deaths that occur every year in Italy. The cold, then, increases the risk. But it is nutrition that plays a fundamental role in the prevention of pathologies linked to the atherosclerotic degeneration of blood vessels. Advice on diet to follow, and foods to avoid, are shared by the cardiologist Furio Colivicchipresident of Anmco (National Association of hospital cardiologists) and doctor at San Filippo Neri all’Asl Roma 1.
Sudden deaths from cardiac arrest, 40 defibrillators installed at Sapienza University and first aid courses provided
What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
The most worrying symptom is chest pain in the precordial region. If you feel chest discomfort or pressure when climbing stairs, then this is a symptom. You should therefore contact your doctor. Cardiovascular diseases tend to worsen in cold weather. Why? Low temperatures cause blood pressure to rise.
What are the riskiest activities in the snow?
The most dangerous activity is shoveling snow. It is associated with major episodes of heart attack. Among other things, a few years ago, there was snow in Bologna and it resulted in a peak of heart attacks because people were shoveling snow. If you don’t do fitness, you can leave your skin. Because in addition to the absence of physical exercise, the activity takes place under adverse circumstances.
Among the patients you’ve had, is there a more exposed profession?
There are jobs that are particularly unfavorable for the heart, such as those involving shifts that alter the normal life cycle. All people who work many night shifts or even irregular shifts. Those who alter the sleep-wake rhythm and those who are awake when they should sleep increase the risk. You have to rest, don’t worry, at least 6-8 hours a day. Not less. And you have to sleep at night when there is no light.
Not good in general. But if the employee then, on returning home, plays sports: then he has good cardiovascular health. What matters to him is not sedentary work, but the physical activity you do during the day. L’Oms recommends 300 minutes a week.
What foods do you recommend to avoid having high cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack?
A first aspect concerns the amount of food we take in each day, in terms of calories. Our diet shouldn’t include big binges. You have to maintain the body weight compatible with your body structure. Adopt the “half portion” policy.
It depends on the organization of our life. We cannot force an employee or a worker to stop every 3 hours, because it could be incompatible with the work activity. Often, however, we concentrate nutrition on evening meals: and it’s wrong. We fast during the day and then have a big final “eat”. It’s not a good idea. The ideal would be to divide the total calories into 3 meals during the day, also including snacks in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
The healthiest foods are those of plant and non-animal origin. The meat is rich in fat, the red one has a higher content than the white one. It is therefore necessary to limit it to no more than three times a week.
What foods help eliminate cholesterol?
Eggplant is particularly beneficial in containing cholesterol. In addition to not containing any, it eliminates it. As well as lentils and peas which are good for cardiovascular health. Then there are cereals that reduce cholesterol. Those high in fiber like oats and barley are the absolute best. They have a low fat content and can be taken with hot soups. Then there is the fruit. Apples help reduce cholesterol. They contain pectin, have a low calorie content, are rich in fiber and have a good glycemic balance (therefore also recommended for diabetics). Annurca apples in particular, which are used to combat hypercholesterolemia.
A barley coffee is better than traditional coffee.
Fried food is not good, because it involves the arrival of fat, even saturated fat. Only occasionally: once every two weeks. There is no big difference between frying methods. What we do know is that it’s best to fry with olive oil.
Are biscuits and baked sweets better than industrial ones?
The baked product can have a better quality than the industrial product, but often has an uncontrolled nutrient content. Sweets should be kept in a balanced diet, taken in a limited way.
Use wholemeal bread instead of refined. And add fiber, like psyllium, which reduces fat.
Do you recommend freezing it if you have excess?
Freezing alters the organoleptic properties because ice crystals are formed. Better to buy little but fresh.
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