- What do Bulgarians do wrong in their way of life and diet when two out of three die of a heart attack or stroke?
Bulgarians consume mostly foods that contain cholesterol and saturated fats. They are the main reason for plaque to form and stick to blood vessels. Smoking, oxidative stress in the body, the intake of many fried and fatty foods, which injure the walls of blood vessels, also contribute to the faster deposition of plaque in the arteries.
The adhesion of atherosclerotic plaques is also facilitated by the experience of severe stressful moments, which increases the acidity of the blood. When we have clogged arteries above 70%, we already have angina, popular with patients as a "chest frog." From a large drop of fat or when the plaque dissolves and pours its contents into a blood vessel of the heart, an acute accident occurs, which we call a myocardial infarction, and when it occurs in the cerebral vessels, we have a stroke.
Foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats are all animal foods - meat and meat products, dairy products, especially cheese, yellow cheese, egg yolks, butter, bacon, lard.
In all five groups of foods from the "Third Millennium Diet": fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and cereals, there is no cholesterol. In them the fats are unsaturated, there are very small amounts of saturated fats. But if we fry with them, if we put a lot of oil in the pan, during long heat treatment unsaturated fats become saturated.
- What are the normal levels of cholesterol in the blood?
In Bulgaria, the norm for normal cholesterol over the years began to decline and approach the norm in the world. The norm was 7.5, then 6.5 - 6.2 - 5.9. Currently, some laboratories have a standard of 5.2, but the truly safe level of cholesterol is below 4.1 mmol / L.
Triglycerides have their ideal level in the blood - below 1.1. These blood counts should be monitored regularly in people who eat mostly animal foods. And not just the elderly. It also happens that young people aged 20-25 have heart attacks.
- What are the risk factors for cardiovascular accidents?
Eleven risk factors for heart attacks and strokes have been identified. The first five of them are related to nutrition. The first factor is high cholesterol, the second - high triglycerides.
The third is overweight, which leads to the development of metabolic syndrome. He develops diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, triglycerides, high levels of uric acid. A bouquet of socially significant diseases is developing.
The fourth factor is high blood pressure, which is also associated with poor nutrition. Salt also contributes to hypertension, as one gram of salt retains 200 grams of water in the blood, which raises blood pressure.
The fifth factor is diabetes mellitus, especially type 2, which occurs in over 90% of patients with diabetes.
The next three risk factors for heart attack and stroke are related to unhealthy habits - smoking, immobility and stress.
The last three risk factors are gender, genes and age.
Men are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. With a genetic predisposition, it is not necessary for a person to get sick if he eats properly, moves enough and does not smoke.
With age, the accumulation of plaque in the vessels increases and thus the risk of cardiovascular accident.
Atherosclerosis begins to develop from the age of 3 and over the years the plaques become more. But the good news is that even if plaques are already formed and the vessels are severely narrowed and clogged, plaques can be significantly reduced if we exclude all animal foods for a year and include in our diet lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes. and cereals. In this way the risk of heart attack and stroke will be minimized.
- How should people who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke eat?
They should eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water. But not coffee, alcohol and soft drinks with a lot of sugar, but fresh fruit, herbal tea and plain water. Flaxseed water (from boiled flaxseed) is very useful, as it alkalizes the blood and helps to melt plaque.
It is imperative that these patients do not eat even small amounts of unhealthy foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats. It has been experimentally proven that reducing their number does not prevent possible coronary events, but if they are excluded from the diet at all, a natural process of dissolving plaques begins.
For patients who have already had one or two vascular accidents, very suitable foods are legumes, potatoes and whole grain brown rice.
- Give an example menu for patients who have had a vascular accident?
At breakfast it is good to eat plenty of fruit, especially apples and kiwis, which contains 7 to 10 times more vitamin C than lemons. In addition, kiwifruit contains an aspirin-like substance that prevents blood clots from forming. Taking aspirin is not recommended because it irritates the lining of the stomach and the entire digestive system. Aspirin also has an allergic effect. Therefore, it is better to replace one to three kiwi fruit.
It is good to have cereals in the breakfast - boiled wheat, bulgur, oatmeal. They are selected according to the state of the digestive system. If it is more sensitive or there are inflammatory processes, very well cooked oats, millet, buckwheat, einkorn are recommended. The wheat is boiled for two hours and left to swell in the water until the morning. You can cook a larger amount in 3-4 days and warm your daily portion.
In the wheat you can add pieces of fruit, dates, dark raisins, coconut shavings and some nuts - walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peeled sunflower, pumpkin seeds. Nuts should be in small quantities when we are overweight. They are otherwise useful with their unsaturated fatty acids, but are high in calories and two-thirds of the calories are fat. Therefore, 5-10 almonds or 2-3 walnuts are added to the wheat. Depends on being overweight. When it is very large, do not eat nuts for a while.
For lunch we have a great nice salad with as little salt as possible. Potassium salt is preferable for hypertensives.
I recommend patients to replace ordinary table salt with Himalayan, because it contains 86 minerals.
For the salad we use high quality olive oil or cold pressed oil (charlan), which is sold in all health food stores and in large retail chains.
Season the salad with lots of lemon juice.
It is important to chew well until the food becomes a mush. We need to sunbathe even the liquids well, so they are absorbed in small sips.
- What should be the cooked dishes?
Potato dish can be consumed 2-3 times a week. In diabetics, potatoes should always be left with the peel, as they are prepared in a dish with many other vegetables, consumed with a lot of salad and without bread.
Legumes are especially useful for people with diabetes - beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, soy. They can be cooked in combinations of vegetables - for example, fresh cabbage with tomatoes and a little brown rice, roasted zucchini, peppers, eggplant. We can make sarmi and stuffed peppers with whole grain rice or rice with mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, risotto. The menu is varied and tasty, with no cholesterol.
If bread is eaten, it should be 1-2 slices and must be wholemeal. Recently, they have started to produce einkorn bread, which is also very useful. We can add some natural brown olives to lunch. My recommendation is to be saltier. If necessary, soak.
For dinner, when the weight is normal, the menu may include a large salad and a small amount of cooked lunch.
The rule is: have breakfast like a king, have lunch like a queen, have dinner like a beggar. Dinner should be light so that the stomach is completely empty, the heart is not pressed and the body rests all night.
- Is it possible to eat something between the main meals?
Between meals you should not eat anything but water, tea and fresh carrots, apples, red beets, pumpkin and other vegetables and fruits. It is good not to add honey.
To prevent heart attack and stroke, sugar should be minimized or eliminated, as it helps to raise cholesterol and develop overweight. We can replace it with good honey, sweet dried fruits, dates and raisins.
The fluids help to dissolve the plaques and maintain the good condition of the erythrocytes in the blood, where they are free-floating, not glued to each other and with a tendency to form blood clots. This happens when we eat fatty foods and do not drink enough fluids. When erythrocytes stick together, the amount of oxygen they bring to the brain is greatly reduced.
The norm of the amount of fluid that should be drunk daily is the weight of a person multiplied by 30. For example, if we weigh 70 kg, we should drink 2.1 liters per day. However, in order to get rid of plaques and toxins more effectively, we need to increase the amount a little more, that is, with such a weight it is good to drink 2.5 liters of water a day.