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Increasing artichoke consumption is good for your heart

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2017-05-19  Views: 6
Core Tip: Increasing your weekly artichoke consumption may help reduce the risk of suffering cerebrovascular diseases, like strokes, by 7% because of its high content of dietary fibre
Increasing your weekly artichoke consumption may help reduce the risk of suffering cerebrovascular diseases, like strokes, by 7% because of its high content of dietary fibre, according to research by the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.

The studies also highlight that an increase of seven grams of fibre per day entails a 7% decrease in the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases, while stressing the importance of looking after our heart's health against arterial hypertension, which is suffered in Spain by about 14 million people, mainly adults, according to the Spanish Society of Hypertension - Spanish League for the Fight against Arterial Hypertension (SEH-LELHA). These diseases are also the leading cause of worldwide mortality, with 6.7 million deaths per year.

One of the foods with the highest dietary fibre content (group of substances of plant origin) is artichokes, which stand above brown rice or apples. In fact, a 120 gram piece provides 6.8 grams of this type of fibre, which "helps regulate gastrointestinal transit, feeds the intestinal flora and keeps it in good condition, while reducing the glycaemic index of food," as pointed out by Ana Amengual, dietician-nutritionist at the Nutrition Centre Júlia Farré.

This increase contributed by artichokes would help reach the approximately 25-38 grams of these substances that are recommended to be consumed daily, since the average consumption of Spaniards oscillates between 17 and 21 grams, according to the National Dietary Ingestion Survey (ENIDE). "It is important to boost the consumption of this vegetable, not only for how good it is for our circulatory system, but also because of the amount of work that its production generates in our country," assures Antonio Galindo, president of the Artichoke Association of Spain.

Potassium is also a great ally for the heart
Artichokes also have diuretic properties that facilitate the elimination of excess liquids from the organism, which in turn reduces the arterial tension. This is due to its high content of potassium. This electrolyte is vital for muscle contractions, nerve impulses and the heart function; however, if it is ingested in excess, and is accompanied with a high amount of sodium, it can be harmful for adults with kidney disease or diabetes or for those taking diuretics due to heart problems, as it can cause hypotension or low blood pressure (increases sodium excretion and, therefore, the narrowing or dilation of blood vessels).

Healthy eating while avoiding harmful habits
Since no food alone is sufficient to help overcome a disease, it is necessary to have a diet containing a wide range of healthy products, including vegetables, tubers, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts, all rich in fibre.

But it is also important to avoid harmful habits, such as sedentarism, smoking, drinking alcohol, drinking sugary soft drinks, consuming processed products, pastries, cookies and pre-cooked dishes or eating too much sausage, red meats, snacks, fats or salt. "Consuming lots of vegetables won't actually compensate for the negative impact of bad lifestyle practices," stated Amengual.

 
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