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The importance of the Mediterranean diet to your cardiovascular health.

Door Claudia Smet 04 Oct 2021 0 comments
Vrouw met hartvormige schotel vol met groenten

The cardiovascular system

The cardiovascular system (blood circulation) includes the heart, arteries, veins and smaller blood vessels. The heart is actually a pump that primarily has to ensure that the blood is pushed to all corners of the body. Through the arteries, the blood transports oxygen and vital nutrients to the various parts of the body. Waste products are removed through the veins. The heart needs enough oxygen to function.

What is arteriosclerosis?

Arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis is characterized by a narrowing of the arteries due to fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries. The blood often contains an excess of fat and cholesterol. These substances are stored on the inner wall of the arteries, gradually forming deposits that impede blood circulation.

Causes and risk factors

Arteriosclerosis is related to many factors that constitute a risk factor or a direct cause:

  • nicotine
  • diabetes
  • old age
  • hypertension
  • high cholesterol in the blood
  • obesity
  • hereditary predisposition

Atherosclerosis is the cause of many other vascular diseases.

Sportende vrouw van vijftig jaar is tevreden en voelt aan haar hart

Good blood circulation is important for the optimal functioning of all organs.

Everyone knows the shop window legs where you get pain in the calves due to poor blood supply to the leg muscles. Shop window legs are the result of arteriosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries). The right diet and supplements can support the health of your blood vessels.

Varicose veins

Varicose veins are due to the permanent expansion of the superficial veins of the leg. This benign condition affects one in two women and one in ten men. Normally, blood flows from the legs through the veins to the heart. Small valves in the veins prevent the blood from flowing backward. That system sometimes fails: defective valves in some deep veins of the leg cause reflux of the blood, which accumulates in the veins on the surface of the leg. The exact cause is unknown, but it is probably a hereditary disease of the vascular wall. Varicose veins are caused by several factors: obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, standing for a long time, old age and hormonal factors.

Atherosclerosis preventive measures

Prevention is essential and offers the possibility to slow down and even reverse the progression of the disease. It is mainly based on healthy lifestyle habits: not smoking, taking regular exercise, correcting arterial hypertension, possibly controlling blood sugar levels and following a balanced and low-fat diet.

een glas rode wijn is gunstig voor het hart

The importance of a Mediterranean diet

To lower cholesterol levels, a Mediterranean diet is recommended, with grills of meat or lean fish, vegetable salads in an olive oil dressing and fresh fruit for dessert. And as for drinking: a glass of red wine with a meal is certainly not forbidden.
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