After 15 years, the American Heart Association (AHA) updated its recommendations to bury the new delivery food habits that increased with the pandemic and remember the importance of a healthy diet for the health of heart and general well-being.
In this sense, the specialists published last week the new dietary guide 2021 and in order to improve cardiovascular health, they emphasized maintaining a healthy diet in the long term and not so much in making drastic changes “based on fad diets “.
Read also: You should consume only two teaspoons of salt a day, according to Harvard
According to the specialists, they sought to adapt the diets to the “Current eating habits”, marked by “the trend, aggravated by the pandemic, of more fast food options, such as home delivery, meal kits and previously prepared food or processed”.
The ten tips published
- Adjust energy intake and expenditure to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight: For the American Heart Association, maintaining a healthy body weight throughout life is an important component of reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), especially when the overweight and the sedentary lifestyle have increased in the world. According to specialists, “energy needs vary widely with age, activity level, sex and size of an individual.” Along these lines, they stated: “A clinical and public health approach to promote the adoption of a healthy dietary pattern (…) concurrent with the portion control and energy balance is essential to reduce weight gain and CVD risk ”.
- Eat many fruits and vegetables: For specialists, the consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of mortality. On that, the experts pointed out: “The consumption of a wide variety of these food groups provides the essential nutrients and suitable phytochemicals. All forms of fruits and vegetables – fresh, frozen, canned, and dried – can be incorporated into heart-healthy dietary patterns. ” Cardiologists recommend vegetables and fruits of intense colours and those that do not contain too much sugar. The cardiologist Hernan Provera (MN 112,732) recommended: “For a healthy heart, intake must be controlled based on calories consumed and more fruits, vegetables and cereals of all the colors”.
- Replace refined grains with whole grains: AHA experts suggest consuming products with at least 51% whole grains.
- Consume protein: For specialists should ingest protein sources like nuts and legumes. Lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans contribute to cardiovascular health. “Replace foods of animal origin with whole foods of plant origin has the additional benefit of reducing the carbon footprint of the diet, thus contributing to planetary health “, explained the experts, who suggested avoiding the consumption of meat of plant origin since they contain saturated sugars, preservatives, fats, and salt. “At present, there is limited evidence for the short- and long-term health effects of these plant-based meat alternatives,” they said. In that sense, they recommended to ingest Seafood and fish; low-fat or fat-free dairy products; and lean cuts of red meat instead of processed products.
- Use liquid vegetable oils: The AHA assures that tropical oils (coconut, palm, etc.), as well as animal fats and partially hydrogenated fats, should be avoided. Instead, they suggest using soy, corn, sunflower, olive, walnut, and flaxseed oils.
- Avoid ultra-processed foods: The new dietary guide warns that the consumption of many ultra-processed foods is of concern since it generates overweight, obesity, cardiometabolic disorders (type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease) and increased mortality.
- Reduce the consumption of drinks and foods with added sugars: The specialists suggested completely eliminating sugars such as glucose, dextrose or sucrose that are found in sweeteners and some beverages.
- Reduce or eliminate salt intake: “A promising alternative is the replacement of regular salt with potassium-enriched salts, especially in food preparation settings,” he notes. According to Harvard, it is only recommended to consume two teaspoons of salt per daySince excess of it is harmful to the heart and kidneys, it can cause hypertension and osteoporosis, as well as being related to problems related to complications in the nervous system. About that, Provera explained to With Wellness: “The consumption of excess salt is one of the main factors for the increase in blood pressure. It is estimated that approximately 30% of the cases of arterial hypertension it is due to excessive intake. High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for the development of stroke, myocardial infarction and kidney disease ”.
- Reduce or avoid alcohol consumption: The AHA states that the relationship between alcohol and cardiovascular disease is “complex,” as “risk appears to differ based on the amount and pattern of alcohol intake, age, and gender.” ”The 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to 2025 continue to recommend no more than one drink of alcoholic drink per day for women and two drinks a day for men ”.
- Follow the dietary recommendations regardless of where you are: For AHA specialists, the suggestions in the new guide should apply at all times and in all places. In that sense, they said: “Policies should be enacted that promote healthier food choices, such as making products of whole grains instead of refined grains and minimize the content of sodium and sugar in the products ”.