How to cook to prevent cardiovascular disease

Experts frequently remind us: a healthy diet, together with daily physical exercise, is the best tool we have to protect our hearts. And the Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, extra virgin olive oil, fish, whole grains and legumes, is the basis of this diet. But how do you cook these foods for maximum cardiovascular health benefits?

In raw

According to experts, healthy eating begins when you fill the shopping cart . In it we should include as many foods to eat raw as to cook, since according to nutritionists the ideal is that one of the two main meals of the day be raw and the other, cooked . And it is that raw cooking is a very healthy way of eating, as long as we do not add sauces that contain too much salt or sugar. Among the options that we can opt for are salads, carpaccios, tartare or sashimi .


In ceviches, the fish retain all its nutrients and provide many benefits to our body: with this dish, in which the fish is cooked in lemon or lime juice and is accompanied by onion, coriander and vegetables that you want to add, you get proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega 3, omega 6, minerals, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, iodine, potassium and vitamins A, D, E and K. The less we leave the ceviche, the healthier it will be.

Pickled and smoked

Marinades, which preserve and can enhance the flavor of food, can be very healthy if we do not use excessive amounts of oil and add the more natural ingredients, the better . As for smoked foods, a technique used both for cooking and for preserving food, the important thing is, once again, not to add salt if we want to protect our cardiovascular health .


They are another option when consuming vegetables that allow nutrients and beneficial fibers to be incorporated into the body . They are prepared by submerging the chosen vegetable in salted water or vinegar, which allows the life of the food to be extended while preserving a large part of its nutritional benefits, such as vitamins and minerals.

steam cooking

For vegetables, steam cooking is a good option: they help us maintain the properties of these foods , and in addition to not losing nutrients, steam cooking allows them to be cooked to perfection and is quick. In fact, to make sure you get all the benefits of vegetables, shorter cooking times are recommended.

The beneficial effect of vegetables for cardiovascular health is that they protect against heart rhythm disorders and at the same time their high concentration of antioxidants plays a protective role against ischemic vascular disease. On the other hand, the rich fiber content that many vegetables provide favors intestinal transit and reduces the chances of developing inflammatory phenomena.


Traditional stews, with fried foods to which white meats, legumes or whole-grain pasta can be added, are also a healthy method of cooking food. Especially if sudden changes in temperature are avoided, making them at a slow pace in which the food is at a constant temperature, which also allows the flavor to be maintained. If you want to enhance the flavor even more, you can use vegetables or aromatic herbs such as rosemary or thyme.


The oven is one of the healthiest options for fish , especially when it comes to large or medium pieces, whole fish or thick slices. And fish cannot be missing from the diet because it is rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids, especially if we talk about oily fish.

If it is cooked en papillote, wrapping the fish in aluminum foil together with vegetables, for example, the piece is made in its own juice, and this allows us to enjoy low-fat dishes because that way we avoid adding extra fat. In addition, cooking in the oven preserves almost all of the nutrients in the food.


As chef Dani López explained in the online meeting “ Cardiovascular dietary patterns ”, the microwave can also be a good tool . Lack of time to cook can be an obstacle, and in those cases the microwave is a good ally because it is fast, clean and comfortable, as well as allowing you to follow a healthy diet.

Regarding the doubts of patients with defibrillators or pacemakers related to whether the electromagnetic fields generated by microwaves can pose any danger, Dr. Carlos Piñeiro recalled at the same meeting that microwaves do not affect the operation of defibrillators and pacemakers.


While cooking and steaming are the healthiest options, frying is the least nutritionally advisable because much of the value of the food is lost and more fat is usually consumed. For this reason, if cooking is ruled out, we can replace frying with grilling, which is the intermediate option .

reduce salt

As for how to use salt when cooking, experts remind us that the ideal is to get used to cooking and eating with hardly any salt on our plates. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends reducing sodium intake to less than two grams a day, which is equivalent to approximately five grams of salt in adults , in order to reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, the WHO also recommends a greater reduction in sodium intake because it can predispose to the development of diseases such as osteoporosis, asthma and other respiratory diseases, obesity and stomach cancer.


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