What the Heart Desires

The heart muscle is the central organ of our body, without which we would not be able to live. This small organ is a true high-performance engine. It pumps about 1.5 gallons every minute, supplying vital oxygen and nutrients to organs, tissues and cells. Therefore, it deserves to be given more attention. But far from it! We invest more time and money in beautiful skin and muscles than in taking care of our heart. Even occasional shortness of breath or problems climbing stairs are often ignored, although these can already be the first signs of heart problems.

Many assume that, as the heart continuously pumps blood through the veins and, of all organs, is best supplied with valuable nutrients. In fact, however, the heart is not supplied with nutrients and oxygen directly, but via the arteries (coronary arteries) that surround the heart. A narrowing or even blocking of the coronary arteries leads to disruption of the blood flow to the heart and, in the worst case, can lead to a heart attack.

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in the world. In the US 1, in every 4 deaths is due to heart disease, over 600,000 deaths annually. But according to studies, 90 percent of heart attacks and 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented by a consistently healthy lifestyle.

Many cardiovascular diseases are linked to our diet. Above all high blood fat levels that can damage the arteries. Smoking and high blood pressure also affect the elasticity and stability of the vessel walls and contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis develops slowly. Fat components as well as blood and connective tissue cells are deposited in the vessel wall. These so-called plaques can narrow the arteries and restrict blood flow. In a further stage, blood clots form which clog the vessels and arteries and thus interrupt the blood supply. As a result, the tissue that supplies the affected arteries will die over time. Depending on the location of the vascular occlusion, the heart, brain or legs may be affected.

But not only unhealthy eating affects the blood circulation of organs and tissues, smoking is also bad for the heart. This is because smoking produces carbon monoxide, which depletes the body of oxygen, and this also reduces the oxygen supply and blood circulation to the organs. Furthermore, smoking creates many free radicals that can attack and damage the cells.

Heart-healthy nutrition

One of the best preventive measures is a healthy diet and lifestyle. In the 1950s, scientists first investigated the relationship between a Mediterranean diet and the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. The risk of disease among study participants who were eating a Mediterranean diet was 30 percent lower than among those whose diets were rich in animal fat, especially saturated fat, and were also high in sugar and highly processed foods. These findings from that time are more relevant than ever.

Basically, a heart-healthy diet is centered around relieving the heart. Therefore, it is particularly important to keep an eye on body weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and blood fat levels. For a long time, one of the first recommendations was to favor a low-cholesterol and low-fat diet to minimize the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols

Today, however, scientists are focusing more on a holistic, healthy diet that gives a place to healthy fats and oils on the menu. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly important and beneficial. Fatty acids are involved in regulating blood pressure and are precursors for messenger substances that influence inflammatory reactions. In addition, they provide elastic and healthy cell and artery walls. Therefore, a “heart-healthy cuisine” includes cold-pressed vegetable oils such as linseed, hempseed, rapeseed and walnut oil, as well as, once or twice a week, sea fish containing the high-quality omega-3 fatty acids in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

The full health potential of omega-3 fatty acids is realized especially when abundant polyphenols are consumed with the food at the same time. Studies have shown that polyphenols protect the sensitive omega-3 fatty acids as they pass through our body and facilitate their absorption into cells. An important polyphenol is phlorotannin, which is found predominantly and in sufficient quantities in olives and olive oil. This is certainly one of the reasons why Mediterranean diet is often referred to in connection with a heart-healthy diet, especially since the Mediterranean food also contains plenty of vegetables and thus provides a wide range of various secondary plant substances. These have a positive effect on all cell structures and the entire metabolism. Thus, they are helpful in lowering blood sugar levels and balancing blood pressure.

Minerals and salt

Electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium are also indispensable for a strong heart. These minerals support the electrical conduction of the heart cells. A daily serving of green vegetables and lettuce, as well as nuts and legumes, can satisfy the demand for these minerals.

While vegetables, legumes, herbs, mushrooms, nuts and vegetable oils can be eaten without hesitation, the consumption of meat and sausages as well as convenience foods, snacks and fast food should be in moderation. These foods often contain a high proportion of salt, which raises blood pressure. Furthermore, low-quality fats and other additives, such as flavor enhancers, are often added to the products, which are detrimental to health and put a strain on the heart in the long term.

Exercise

In addition to a healthy diet, cardiovascular diseases can be prevented with sufficient exercise and a moderate sports program. Physical activity can reduce mortality from cardiovascular diseases and improve quality of life. It also has a positive effect on blood pressure, blood fat levels, body weight and blood sugar. Endurance sports such as jogging, walking, cycling and swimming are particularly suitable for this purpose.

Metabolic Balance – heart-healthy nutrition

With the personalized Metabolic Balance nutrition plan, you provide your heart with all the building blocks it needs to remain and become strong and efficient, right up to old age. The decisive factor is above all that only natural and hardly processed foods are recommended, i.e. that also high-fat foods, with their natural fat content, enrich the diet and help to ensure that the body is well supplied with the valuable unsaturated fatty acids. In order to relieve and strengthen the heart, possible risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure or atherosclerosis must be taken into account and kept in check at the same time. Thus, with a Metabolic Balance nutrition plan you can kill several birds with one stone.

Sources:

  1. Dietary recommendations for prevention of atherosclerosis https://doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvab173
  2. Seven Countries Study; https://www.sevencountriesstudy.com/about-the-study/
  3. https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/521812/umfrage/todesfaelle-aufgrund-von-herzinfarkten-nach-altersgruppe-und-geschlecht/
  4. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet; https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa1200303

10 Heart Healthy Foods

Foods for a healthy heart

Living better with Metabolic Balance

Today, more and more people are suffering from cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and various types of heart problems.


A healthy lifestyle can dramatically reduce the risk of such diseases. Nutrition plays a key role in this.

Plenty of vegetables, fish and high-quality oils should be regularly on the menu to keep the heart healthy. On the other hand, processed foods should be avoided altogether. A clean diet with fresh foods, as recommended by Metabolic Balance, is the right way to keep your metabolism and thus your cardiovascular system going. Check this list of 10 foods that are great for your heart for some inspiration.

10 foods for a healthy heart

1. Green leafy vegetables

They are rich in minerals and vitamins and improve vascular function.

2. Whole grain

The fiber from whole grains lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol, which helps keep blood vessels penetrable.

3. Nuts and almonds

They have a positive effect on cholesterol levels and are said to reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

4. Legumes

They have a positive effect on blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol, and they counteract inflammatory processes.

5. Berries

Three servings of blueberries and strawberries per week are enough to reduce the risk of heart attack due to the antioxidants they contain, according to a U.S. study.

6. Fat fish

The omega-3 fatty acids contained in it protect the heart from a heart attack.

7. Olive oil

It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant properties and has a positive effect on vascular health.

8. Apples

An apple has an average of three grams of fiber, which lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.

9. Avocado

Its high proportion of vitamin E counteracts arteriosclerosis and vitamin K supports blood clotting.

10. Garlic

According to studies, people who eat garlic regularly are less likely to have cardiovascular diseases.

Heart Health

Today, more and more people are suffering from cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and various types of heart problems. A healthy lifestyle can dramatically reduce the risk of such diseases. Nutrition plays a key role in this.

Plenty of vegetables, fish and high-quality oils should be regularly on the menu to keep the heart healthy. On the other hand, finished products should be avoided altogether. A clean diet with fresh foods, as recommended by Metabolic Balance, is the right way to keep your metabolism and thus your cardiovascular system in motion.

Heart Health

Globally heart disease accounts for almost one third of deaths every year. Heart health is impacted by a variety of factors including diet, exercise, and lifestyle. In regards to diet, is important to eat foods high in fiber and antioxidants. Fiber which can’t be digested by human enzymes, is broken down by enzymes produced by our gut microbiota. It can bind cholesterol and fats, preventing their absorption, thereby lowering the risk for heart disease. Antioxidants work similarly by preventing free radicals from damaging blood vessels. Eating foods high in fiber and antioxidants is one way to keep your heart healthy. For a list of heart healthy foods check out the infographic below!

Picture: OHSU

My Heart Healthy Plate - vegetables, protein, whole grains and fruit

Health and Happiness

Health and happiness are always seen in a close connection. This probably has to do with the fact that how we feel physically and how we feel emotionally cannot be separated. It is generally recognized, for example, that someone who feels happy and has joy in their lives is less likely to become ill at the “organ of joy” – aka the heart. Whereas, conversely, when we’re feeling down we often become more susceptible to viruses and bacteria and a generally weaker immune system. A key to personal happiness – and thus to health – is a healthy diet. Metabolic Balance has been proven to increase the quality of life which naturally leads to boosting health and happiness.

Like Mahatma Gandhi we truly believe health is the real wealth in life.

Chickpea / Garbanzo-Beans

The humble chickpea is definitely something that needs to be a regular dinner guest! As a member of the legume family they are highly valuable due to their excellent protein content. It’s due to their wonderful protein that they are sometimes called “the chicken of the vegetable kingdom”!

MB 11-24 Kichererbsen

The high proportion of essential amino acids in chickpeas together with with five percent fat makes them highly nutritious. Their are rich in potassium and magnesium (great for heart and muscle health), phosphorus and calcium (valuable for bone health) and iron. In addition, chickpeas contain vitamins A and B as well as traces of vitamin C and E.

Chickpeas are not only fabulous in stews or curries – they are also a delicious substitute for snacking especially when you might be tempted to look for a sweet or two. Here’s a quick snack-tip: Drain a can of chickpeas (check that the can only has water and salt and no added sugar). Distribute on kitchen towel to allow to dry. Gently fry, the dried chickpeas in a dry non-stick pan. Delicious!

Walnuts – Nutritious Power-House

MB 10-20 walnuts

Did you know that walnuts are a real power food?  They have a healthy fat content of approx 50% and the calorific value of 100g walnuts is over 2,700 kJ. The content of the essential fat alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fat) is especially high. We call a fat “essential” as it’s one that our bodies can’t produce naturally and therefore must come from our food. Essential fats are known to offer a whole range of anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits. They keep the heart healthy by helping the blood vessels be flexible, prevent arteriosclerosis and have a positive influence on cholesterol levels.  

Walnuts are very rich in protein and therefore particularly valuable for vegetarians. A handful of walnuts (about 43g) provides 8g of vegetable proteins. They are also among the richest sources of antioxidants that help protect against cancer. They are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E, pantothenic acid and important minerals such as zinc, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, iron and calcium. Walnuts also boost digestion, as they are very rich in fiber.

Almonds – A Power House

Almonds are so much more than just a snack or baking ingredient – of course our Metabolic Balancers have known this for a long time. The tasty nuts are rich in protein, minerals and B vitamins. They protect against cardiovascular diseases and, according to some studies, even prevent diabetes. Their cholesterol-lowering effect is also well researched and documented. Thus, we can say, eating these tasty nuts regularly is one of your go-to foods. However, it is important to soak them for a few hours beforehand – preferably overnight. This reduces inhibitors and enables your digestion to break down and absorb nutrients much easier and better. By doing so, almonds are even tastier!

MB 10-06 - almonds

Check out our Mandelade-Recipes (Almond-SunflowerSeed-Mix) on our Recipe Blog or watch this video!

Coffee Day!

MB 09-27-2019

Today is the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning and so we need to honor the humble coffee bean. Coffee is not only a wonderful social drink but scientists are showing increasingly the positive impact it may have on the body. With over 1000 different natural components identified, more evidence is emerging from many new studies showing a positive influence on heart health and much more. But you may be asking, isn’t coffee linked to stress and detrimental effects on health? As with so many things, it’s the dose that makes the poison! Too much will have negative effects. Coffee does raise blood pressure, heart rate and stimulate the stress hormones. At Metabolic Balance we recommend drinking only black coffee and also only during meal times. This makes all the difference. Later in the Metabolic Balance Program as you reach your (health) goals and have an improved well-being, coffee can be enjoyed between meals as well. Thus, to all of you having a cup of coffee this morning – Enjoy! We love a beautiful cup of coffee too.

Do you know that Pumpkin Seeds are a Sleep Aid?

Many have the “Seed Mix”, which is pumpkin and sunflower seeds, as a breakfast in their Metabolic Balance Nutrition Plan. Ever wondered how many benefits pumpkin seeds actually have? See in the following infographic [source]:

316311_10151201602367436_1092216911_n1 (countryandvictoriantimes.com)