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VERIFIED CONTENTAuthor: Klaudia Kierzkowska, graduate of chemistry at the University of Warsaw

The latest statement from the American Society of Cardiology has been released to provide 10 updated principles for caring for the heart. They highlight the importance of a holistic approach to diet that can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke at all stages of life.

Experts from the American Heart Association emphasize that the latest publication reflects the scientific evidence about the effects of nutrition on heart he alth, the overall cardiovascular system and the risk of death.

The statement emphasized the importance of looking at your overall dietary pattern rather than focusing on "good" or "bad" foods. The nutritional pattern refers to the balance, variety, amount, and combination of foods and drinks consumed regularly.

The statement also stressed the key role of nutritional education, starting he althy eating early in life and maintaining it throughout life. Also mentioned were social challenges that can make it difficult to adopt or maintain a heart-he althy diet.

"We can all benefit from a heart-he althy eating pattern, regardless of life stage, and it is possible to design one that fits with personal preferences, lifestyle, and cultural habits. It doesn't have to be complicated, time-consuming, expensive or unattractive, "said Alice H. Lichtenstein, chairman of the research group, of the University of Boston.

We eat out a lot, so the statement stressed that it is possible to follow a heart-he althy eating pattern whether food is prepared at home, ordered at a restaurant, online or purchased as a ready meal. " You can absolutely adapt your heart-he althy diet to suit different lifestyles. " Lichtenstein said.

How to take care of your heart? 10 nutritional rules

The statement lists 10 characteristics of the nutritional pattern that promotes heart he alth:

  1. Balance your food and caloric intake with exercise to maintain a he althy weight.
  2. Choose a variety of foods and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to get the full effectnutrients from food, not supplements.
  3. Choose whole grains and other foods that consist mostly of whole grains.
  4. Include he althy sources of lean and / or high-fiber protein, such as vegetable proteins (nuts and legumes), fish or seafood, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, lean cuts of meat. Limit your consumption of red and processed meat.
  5. Use liquid non-tropical vegetable oils such as olive oil or sunflower oil.
  6. If possible, choose foods that are minimally processed, not ultra-processed.
  7. Minimize the consumption of beverages and foods with added sugars.
  8. Select or prepare food with little or no s alt.
  9. Limit your alcohol intake.
  10. Use the above tips no matter where the food is prepared or eaten.

The effect of food on the heart

Processed foods include meat preserved by smoking, curing, or adding chemical preservatives, and foods of plant origin with added s alt, sugar, or fats. Many processed meats are high in s alt, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

Research shows that replacing processed meat with other protein sources is associated with lower mortality rates.

Ultra-processed foods are foods that go beyond the addition of s alt, sweeteners or fat, contain artificial colors, flavors and preservatives that provide storage stability, preserve texture and improve palatability.

According to the statement, nutrition plays a key role in heart he alth throughout life. A heart-he althy diet and a he althy lifestyle - regular physical activity and avoiding contact with tobacco products - are essential from childhood to adulthood to reduce the risk of high levels of "bad" cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. any of which can increase your risk of heart disease.

The impact of a pregnancy diet on the heart

Before and during pregnancy, women who follow a heart-he althy diet can reduce risk factors for heart disease, which can help prevent unhe althy weight gain in their babies.

Research proves that preventing childhood obesity is key to maintaining and prolonging heart he alth throughout life.

"The evidence shows that people of all ages can benefit from following the principles of a heart-he althy eating pattern," emphasizes Prof. Liechtenstein.

"It is important to educate children of all ages so that when they reach adulthood, they are able to make informed decisions about what to eat and serve as a positive role model for future generations," he adds.

He althy diet and the environment

The nutritional guidelines also take into account the issue of sustainability. Commonly consumed animal products, especially red meat (beef, lamb, pork, veal, game or goat), have the highest environmental impact in terms of water and land use, and contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.

Consequently, transferring the dependency from meat proteins to plant proteins can help improve the he alth of the individual and the environment.

"It's important to realize that the guidelines are consistent not only with heart he alth, but also with sustainability - which is good for individuals and our environment," said Liechtenstein.

However, as outlined in the statement, not all balanced diets are he althy for the heart. For example, if a plant-based diet is high in refined carbohydrates and added sugars, the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease increases.

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