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Mediterranean cuisine as a recommendation for a long, healthy life
The Mediterranean diet has a number of health advantages over our domestic food, with the cardiovascular system benefiting above all from the Mediterranean cuisine. "The Mediterranean cuisine contains the most important building blocks of heart-healthy nutrition," emphasizes Professor Dr. med. Helmut Gohlke from the board of the German Heart Foundation. In the new guidebook "Live longer through Mediterranean cuisine: dream or reality?", The German Heart Foundation has detailed the advantages of the Mediterranean diet.
"Those who consistently eat according to the recipes of the Mediterranean cuisine - preferably already in childhood - contribute to better vascular function in young adulthood and can thus reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke, but also for other chronic conditions such as cancer and diabetes," explains the heart specialist Prof. Gohlke. The new guide explains the effects of the individual food components on the cardiovascular system in a way that is easy to understand. This aims to increase life expectancy through healthy eating habits.
Mediterranean cuisine recommended by medical professionals
How do carbohydrates work and why should complex carbohydrates be ingested here rather than empty ones? What is the effect of fats and why are unsaturated healthier than saturated? What are omega-3 fatty acids and which fish has more, which has less? These and other questions are discussed in detail in the guide of the German Heart Foundation. The focus here is on Mediterranean cuisine because it is not only particularly healthy, but also combines enjoyable cooking and eating with the health benefits. Today, the traditional Mediterranean cuisine is recommended by heart specialists, but also by doctors for cancer and diseases of the nervous system.
Favorable effects for the heart and circulation
Typical features of Mediterranean cuisine, as propagated by the German Heart Foundation, are a high proportion of vegetables, lettuce, legumes, fruit and whole grain products, a lower proportion of meat and more fish, a lot of olive or rapeseed oil and more spices or herbs instead of salt. Many people have the image of a bland diet in their heads when it comes to "healthy eating", but the Mediterranean cuisine offers enjoyment and delicious food in a wide variety, "which offers many options for combining food components with different beneficial effects for the heart and circulation" the announcement of the German Heart Foundation.
Preventive effect against heart attacks, CHD and strokes
Vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grain products from Mediterranean cuisine offer important complex carbohydrates and fiber, vitamins and secondary plant substances (highly effective micronutrients e.g. in peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, radishes and blackberries), explain the experts of the German Heart Foundation. Vegetables, lettuce, legumes, fruits and herbs have a protective effect against coronary heart diseases (CHD), heart attacks and strokes. Which individual ingredients play a role here remains unclear. "It is the overall product that has a positive effect," explains Prof. Gohlke.
Benefits of reduced meat consumption
The reduced meat consumption and its replacement by fish and legumes such as beans, lentils or peas, which also have a high protein content, have a positive effect, according to the expert. Many people would eat more animal protein than necessary (0.8 to 1 g per kilogram of normal weight is sufficient for adults) and the increased protein consumption could damage kidney function. Vegetable protein from soybeans contains all essential amino acids in sufficient quantities to ensure complete nutrition and is a good alternative to meat.
High percentage of healthy fats
According to the German Heart Foundation, it is important to watch out for healthy fats and avoid unhealthy fats. When it comes to the consumption of fats, the distribution of the different types of fats is more important than the total amount. Studies would have shown that polyunsaturated fats (e.g. omega-3 fatty acids in fish) and monounsaturated fats (in olive, rapeseed and peanut oil, avocados, almonds), as offered by the Mediterranean kitchen, with a lower heart attack- and risk of stroke. Saturated fats, for example in meat, sausages and bacon, on the other hand, would have an unfavorable effect because they increase LDL cholesterol, which is hazardous to health, and clotting activity in the blood, reports the German Heart Foundation. "This favors CHD and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke," said Professor Gohlke.
Favorable effect on life expectancy
An exception are the saturated fats from the milk of cows, sheep and goats, which are judged to be rather cheap. The trans fats contained in the milk are also not said to have an adverse effect. However, fish basically has an important health benefit because of the omega-3 fatty acids it contains, which have anti-inflammatory effects and reduce the stickiness of the platelets. According to Professor Gohlke, "Omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on life expectancy and protect against CHD and heart attack .." Accordingly, the Mediterranean diet shows extensive health benefits, which also give hope for an increased life expectancy. (fp)