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Diet for cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular diseases are a group of disorders, with multiple causes, that affect the proper functioning of the heart. Fortunately, cardiovascular diseases can be treated and avoided with a healthy lifestyle and appropriate medication. The cardiovascular diet aims to control weight, regulate blood sugar, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol to prevent recurrence and preserve the heart.

The key points of the cardiovascular diet are
  • Choose foods that are sources of good fats
  • Avoiding fats that are harmful to the heart
  • Consume fiber and fruits and vegetables
  • Ensure a low glycemic index diet
  • Encourage physical activity and a healthy lifestyle

Benefits of the diet for cardiovascular disease

The diet for cardiovascular diseases has many benefits, it allows to
  • Increase the consumption of heart-healthy foods
  • Avoid foods that are bad for the heart
  • Regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Promote a healthier lifestyle
  • Reduce the risk of recurrence
  • Prevent the occurrence of cardiovascular events
Eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to improve the intake of heart-healthy nutrients, control body weight, lower blood pressure and control blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Is the Mediterranean diet perfect for cardiovascular disease?

It has been shown in scientific studies that following a Mediterranean-type diet could decrease the risk of cardiovascular mortality. This diet is mainly rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, oilseeds and olive oil. This diet also encourages regular consumption of poultry and fish and low consumption of sweets, red and processed meat, especially deli meats. The antioxidant and anticoagulant effects of the Mediterranean diet would explain its positive effect on cardiovascular health.

Fats, good or bad for the heart?

Until recently, limiting total fat intake and especially saturated fat was the message conveyed to reduce cardiovascular risk. A recent meta-analysis of numerous scientific studies showed that total fat intake was not significantly associated with cardiovascular mortality. In other words, total fat intake has little influence on the risk of heart disease. The most recent recommendations of the American Heart Association (AHA) now make specific recommendations for each type of fat and place less emphasis on total fat intakes. However, other associations/institutions still make recommendations on total fat, advising to limit total fat intake to between 20 and 35% of total calories consumed in a day.

Many foods naturally contain fat, such as meats and dairy products, but fat is also added in baked goods such as waffles, cereals, breads and crackers. In addition to these products, there are fats used in cooking or in salads for example. Fats should not be banned, but you should keep a close eye on their place in your diet.

Heart-healthy foods: dietary recommendations

This sheet presents general recommendations to ensure a healthy diet and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or recurrence. The diet to adopt must be varied, balanced and rich in heart-healthy foods. On the contrary, foods that are bad for the heart should be avoided as much as possible.

Heart-healthy foods to include in the diet

Heart-healthy foods are, above all, those that allow the cardiovascular system to function properly while protecting it from cardiovascular accidents. A Mediterranean-style diet rich in good fats, fiber, fruits and vegetables and lean protein is recommended. In case of cardiovascular disease, the diet should be complemented by physical activity.

Good fats
Monounsaturated fats have been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels. It is therefore recommended to consume foods that are a source of them regularly:
  • Olive and rapeseed oil
  • Non-hydrogenated margarines
  • Avocado
  • Oilseeds
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially omega-3, are protective for the heart. Those of marine origin have been the most studied. They have anti-inflammatory properties and protect the arteries from atherosclerosis. The recommended intake of plant omega-3 (ALA) is around 1 g per day. Also, the need for marine omega-3 (EPA and DHA) is 500 mg per day. To reach these needs, it is recommended to consume fatty fish 2 to 3 times a week.

The fish that contain a good amount of omega-3 are
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Tuna
In addition, adding a plant source to each can also help meet the need. Good sources of plant-based Omega-3s are:
  • Flaxseed and oil
  • Walnut and nut oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Chia, pumpkin and hemp seeds
Lean protein
Choosing lean cuts of meat is very important in the Special Heart Health Diet. Meats that are recommended for consumption are:
  • Beef: Inside round, steak or roast round, steak or roast outside round, loin, rump roast, tenderloin, striploin, stewing beef, extra lean ground beef
  • Pork: Roast and buttock chops, tenderloin, boneless end roast, middle loin
  • Poultry: White meat of chicken or turkey without skin, guinea fowl, pheasant and goose without skin
  • Veal: Roast buttock or shoulder, loin, chops, cutlets, steak
  • Lamb : Leg, loin, chops, shoulder roast
  • Game: all cuts
It is also important to choose low-fat dairy products such as
  • Cheeses with less than 20% fat
  • Milk and yogurt with less than 2% fat
  • Cream with less than 15% fat
Fruits and vegetables
Eating vegetables and fruit is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy. Fruits and vegetables are rich in phytochemicals and protective antioxidants. Many vegetables and fruit are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A. These substances act as powerful antioxidants in the body and help reduce the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries.

The best sources of vitamin C are:
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Orange
  • Kiwi
  • Melon
  • Lemon
The best sources of beta-carotene are recognizable by their beautiful orange-red color:
  • Carrot
  • Squash
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet potato
It is advisable to include fruits and vegetables in every meal and snack, in a systematic way.

The best ways to cook vegetables are by steaming or grilling to retain as much of the nutrients as possible. Fresh or frozen vegetables are recommended. On the other hand, canned fruits and vegetables should not be eaten because they are bathed in a very sweet or salty liquid and lose a large part of their nutrients.

Fiber is an essential component of a heart healthy diet. It is found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and oilseeds.

Soluble fibre is the one to be favoured in the diet for cardiovascular diseases. Indeed, soluble fibers have the property to decrease blood glucose and cholesterol levels, two factors that have an impact on cardiovascular risk.

Low glycemic index foods
The glycemic index classifies foods according to the increase in blood sugar levels they cause in relation to a reference food, glucose. Eating foods with a low glycemic index can not only help control blood sugar and cholesterol levels but also reduce the risk of heart disease.

Other recommended foods:
  • Antioxidants
  • Physical activity
  • Good hydration
  • Varied and seasonal cuisine

Foods that are bad for the heart to avoid

Some foods that are bad for the heart should be strongly limited in the special diet for cardiovascular diseases. This is the case of bad lipids that accelerate the formation of atherosclerosis plaques, or sodium that promotes hypertension. Simple sugars, alcohol and tobacco also have a very harmful effect on health in general and on the heart in particular. It is therefore recommended to avoid them.

Bad Fats
All experts agree that foods containing trans fats should be avoided because they increase cardiovascular risk. It is necessary to check the list of ingredients of food products to find terms such as: hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, vegetable fat, vegetable margarine. There are also trans fatty acids naturally present in dairy products and their derivatives as well as in meat. According to the most recent studies, these fatty acids have little impact on cardiovascular risk. Saturated fats should also be avoided in this diet. Indeed, they would have a negative effect on the heart and would promote overweight and atherosclerosis.

Foods that are bad for the heart because they are rich in bad fats are :
  • Cookies, pastries, pastries
  • Pasta
  • Fried and breaded products
  • Industrial products and prepared meals
  • Fatty meats
  • Deli meats
  • Butter
  • Hydrogenated margarines
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Milk and whole milk products
As part of the diet for cardiovascular disease, it is recommended to limit added fats. Thus, a woman should not consume more than 4 to 6 servings of added fat, and a man no more than 6 to 8.

One serving of added fat is equal to:
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 15ml of salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of oilseed puree
  • 7 olives
  • 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/6 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon of cream or cream-based sauce
  • 5g butter or margarine
  • 30g of cheese
  • 2 slices of cold cuts
Excessive alcohol consumption can increase blood pressure and contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. Some studies have shown that people who drink alcohol in moderation have a slightly lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Moderate drinking is one to two drinks per day and no more than 10 per week for women, and two drinks per day and no more than 15 drinks per week for men.

One drink corresponds to :
  • 250ml of beer
  • 12.5 cl of wine
  • 2.5 cl of strong alcohol
Added sugars
It is advisable to limit the addition of refined sugar and to reduce the consumption of foods that contain it.

The main sources of concentrated sugars are:
  • White sugar, brown sugar
  • Honey, jams, jellies, spreads, caramel
  • Glucose-fructose syrup
  • Pastries, viennoiseries, confectionery
  • Cookies
  • Breakfast cereals and cereal bars
  • Sweet and savoury sauces from shops
  • Flavored milk and yogurt
  • Flavored milk drinks, syrups and fruit juices
  • Sweetened compotes, canned fruits
  • Liqueurs, sweet wines, sodas
The average consumption of sodium in the form of salt in France varies from 2000 to 4800 mg per day, which is significantly higher than the recommended intake of 1500 mg per day. Several studies have shown that high sodium intake significantly increases the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. The main sources of sodium are prepared and prepackaged foods. In fact, more than 75% of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods such as cheeses, deli meats, pizzas, sauces and soups, and dried or smoked foods.

What about cholesterol?
Dietary cholesterol is thought to have adverse effects only in some people who produce too much of it. The main sources of dietary cholesterol are egg yolks, shrimps and crayfish and offal. It is therefore not recommended to avoid these foods but to consume them in moderation. Studies show that for a healthy person with no history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high cholesterol, eating an average of one egg per day (7/week) does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in the long term.

Other foods not recommended:
  • Stress
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Tobacco
  • Industrial and refined products

Practical daily advice to follow the diet for cardiovascular diseases

  • Replace traditional starchy foods with whole grains: brown rice, whole grain pasta, etc.
  • Eat fruit with the skin on as much as possible
  • Include more dried fruit in yogurt or as a snack
  • Eat legumes at least once a week and include them in soups, salads and dishes
  • As a snack or as an appetizer, consider eating homemade hummus
  • Choose fiber-enriched cereals, containing at least 4g per serving
  • When baking, replace white flour with wholemeal flour
  • Add wheat or oat bran to your dishes and desserts
  • Think of oleaginous fruits as a snack or dessert
  • Buy as many low-sodium products as possible (less than 320 mg per serving)
  • Avoid canned food
  • Consume low-fat dairy products regularly
  • Opt for unsalted nuts
  • Avoid using salt shakers at the table and always taste before adding salt
  • Avoid prepared meals, industrial products and fast food
  • To give taste without salt, think of spices, herbs and lemon juice
  • Eat oily fish at least twice a week

Diet to reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system. The disease progresses and worsens slowly and its severity depends on the extent of the symptoms (numbness, vision and movement problems, etc.) and the frequency of relapses. An anti-inflammatory diet rich in good fats is an alternative treatment for sclerosis that can slow down the progression of the disease.

The essential points of the diet to reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis :
  • Eat less
  • Choose the right fats
  • Avoid milk and gluten in case of multiple sclerosis
  • Adopt a predominantly plant-based diet
  • Ensure that you have a good supply of vitamins and minerals

Benefits of diet as an alternative treatment for multiple sclerosis

The diet to reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis has many benefits, it allows :
  • Reduce symptoms
  • slow down the progression of the disease
  • Prevent relapses
  • Adopt an overall healthy lifestyle
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Maintain brain health
  • Have an optimal intake of micro-nutrients

Link between diet and multiple sclerosis

Certain scientific data suggest that diet may play a certain role in the development of multiple sclerosis:
  • a deficit in iodine, selenium (especially in regions where the soil is poor in these minerals) and vitamin D
  • an excess of calories, saturated fatty acids (from the animal or vegetable kingdom), pork, concentrated sugars and heavy metals.
Conversely, plant proteins, fish and cereal products would have a protective role.

Myelin is a substance made up, in large part, of fats. Its composition could therefore be influenced by diet. According to some authors, less saturated fat and more unsaturated fat in the diet could help reduce the progression of the disease. A balanced diet low in saturated fats "seems to be the most suitable approach for the time being". In this sense, it would be better to favour polyunsaturated fats.

Seignalet diet and multiple sclerosis

Dr. Seignalet has conducted research on chronic diseases for over twenty years. He was particularly interested in multiple sclerosis, which he described as a clogging of the nervous system by toxins from the intestine. In his book "L'alimentation ou la 3ème médecine" he describes the benefits of diet in reducing the symptoms of sclerosis in dozens of patients. He starts from the principle that the modern diet unbalances the functioning of the small intestine and thus disturbs the balance of the whole organism. The Seignalet diet therefore suggests, in the case of sclerosis, the total exclusion of food grains, milk and all processed foods. It also suggests consuming mostly plant products and preferring raw foods or those that have been gently cooked. In this way, the diet could stop the development of multiple sclerosis and limit or even eliminate the symptoms of the disease. The effects of the Seignalet diet on multiple sclerosis remain very controversial.

Before excluding any food, please consult your dietician so that he or she can supervise your diet and follow the evolution of your health with you.

Dr. Swank's and Kousmine's diets

Although not recognized by official medicine as effective, the diets of Dr. Roy Swank and Dr. Catherine Kousmine are often suggested to reduce symptoms and slow the progression of multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Swank's diet severely restricts saturated fats and, therefore, meats. It was the subject of a study, led by Dr. Swank himself, on 144 people over a 30-year period, in whom the progression of the disease and mortality were reduced, compared to all people with MS. Dr. Kousmine's diet also avoids saturated fats in favor of polyunsaturated fats and provides a substantial intake of vitamins and minerals. This diet has not been the subject of any clinical studies. However, Dr. Kousmine reports that she was able to follow the evolution of multiple sclerosis in 50 patients over a one-year period. Of these, 30 agreed to follow her dietary advice and saw an improvement in their symptoms. This does not allow us to draw any conclusions as to the effectiveness of this diet against multiple sclerosis, but we cannot rule out Dr. Kousmine's hypothesis either. However, antioxidant supplements (carotenoids, vitamin C, and vitamin E) would not have an impact on the disease, according to several epidemiological studies.

Special diet for multiple sclerosis: dietary recommendations

In this fact sheet, we will discuss how to eat in order to reduce the severity of relapses and slow the progression of multiple sclerosis. We will see that by making the right food choices and avoiding foods that aggravate the inflammatory state, it is possible to have a more comfortable life and to significantly reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Recommended diet to reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis

To reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, diet can be a real alternative treatment. By reducing the daily caloric intake and making the right food choices, it is possible to regain a better quality of life. It is recommended to consume more foods rich in Omega-3 and vitamin D. Overall, a predominantly plant-based diet would also help prevent relapses and reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Eat less
There is an inverse relationship between a high calorie intake and the risk of multiple sclerosis. It is recommended that people reduce their calorie intake, especially calories from foods that have little nutritional value. Eating less would protect against neurodegenerative diseases and could be effective in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis by reducing oxidative damage. Indeed, too many calories increase the production of free radicals and inflammation.

Small steps can be taken to reduce daily calorie intake. For example, you can reduce the size of your portions, stop snacking before or after your evening meal and only have dessert occasionally. Also, practicing better listening to your hunger and satiety signals is often the best way to reduce your calories without counting.

What are hunger and satiety signals?
  • My stomach is rumbling
  • I have an empty feeling in my stomach, sometimes accompanied by small cramps
  • I feel a drop in energy, I can no longer concentrate
You should never eat if you are not really hungry.

Examples of adequate satiety or fullness signals:
  • I am no longer hungry and feel comfortable in my clothes
  • My meal seems less tasty than when I first ate it
  • If someone stole my plate at that moment, I wouldn't mind
  • I have more energy, I feel good
You should always stop eating when you are full.

How can I cut out a few calories a day?
It is enough to remove a few well-chosen foods, which sometimes add calories unnecessarily:
  • 1 12.5 cl glass of wine (100 calories)
  • 2 cookies (150 calories)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (100 calories)
  • 30 g to 50 g of cheese (130 to 200 calories)
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise (100 calories)
  • 1 piece of cake and ice cream (about 500 calories)
  • A second plate at mealtime (about 500 calories)
Studies are still divided on the place of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet to reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. On the other hand, given the overall healthfulness of polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is strongly recommended that they be preferred to saturated fatty acids.

Note that it is preferable to consume more vegetable omega-3 sources than omega-6 sources since omega-6s are present in too large quantities in our basic diet.

The sources of omega-3 to include in the special multiple sclerosis diet are
  • Flaxseed oil and seeds
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Hemp oil and seeds
  • Nuts
  • Soybean oil and beans
  • Oil and wheat germ
  • Pumpkin seeds
The effects of marine omega-3 on the progression of multiple sclerosis and the number of relapses are still partially unknown. Furthermore, in 2009, a small study conducted with 10 patients showed that the administration of omega-3 (2.9 g of EPA and 1.9 g of DHA) for 3 months could have a beneficial immunomodulatory effect, but other studies will be needed to confirm this. What is known is that the amount of DHA is decreased in patients with multiple sclerosis. To consume more than 3 g of omega-3, one would have to eat fish every day, in significant quantities, which is difficult or impossible for most people. It is therefore recommended to supplement the required amount with fish oil supplements. However, before taking this type of supplement, you should consult a physician.

Quantity of fish to consume daily to reach 3g of EPA and DHA :
  • 120 g of mackerel
  • 150 g of salmon
  • 180 g of herring
  • 180 g of canned salmon
  • 250 g of salmon
  • 300 g of sardines
  • 300 g trout
  • 400 g white tuna
Vitamin D
Several studies published in recent years have established a link between a lack of vitamin D and the incidence of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D is believed to have a protective effect on the immune system, which may prevent the onset of the disease or limit its severity once it has been declared. Vitamin D deficiency, especially during puberty, seems to predispose to multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, current data do not allow us to determine whether vitamin D supplementation beyond the basic nutritional intake can influence the course of the disease in men.

Until we know the ideal dose of vitamin D to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis, it is imperative to meet the basic vitamin D requirement. The basic vitamin D requirement is 400 IU (international units) per day for babies 1-12 months old, 600 IU per day for people 1 year to 70 years old, and 800 IU per day after 70 years old. To get these amounts, it is best to take a supplement. Indeed, providing these doses through diet alone is rather difficult. In addition, because of the high incidence of osteoporosis in people with multiple sclerosis, supplementation with calcium and vitamin D is usually indicated.

A high intake of plant-based proteins and whole grains is linked to a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis. Legumes, nuts and seeds are preferred. The Mediterranean diet may be indicated for people with multiple sclerosis, but clinical studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness.

Physical activity
In order to have a healthier lifestyle and burn a few calories, physical activity should be practiced for 30 minutes a day. It will help you feel better and stop the progression of the disease.

How do you burn an extra 500 calories a day?
  • 45 minutes of jogging or aerobics
  • 1.5 hours of cycling, cross-country skiing or swimming
  • 2.5 hours of walking
If you don't usually exercise, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, ride your bike or walk to work, take a leisurely walk during your lunch break, etc. All of these small gestures count and make a difference if practiced daily.

Other recommended foods :
  • Antioxidants
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Dietary fiber
  • Lean protein
  • Good hydration

Diet not recommended for multiple sclerosis

As part of the diet to reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, it is recommended to limit foods that can, in one way or another, promote a pro-inflammatory state or harm the integrity of the body. This is the case of gluten, saturated fats and Omega-6 consumed in excess. Dairy products, if poorly tolerated, can also accelerate the progression of the disease.

Multiple sclerosis and gluten
Gluten may play a role in worsening the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. In many people with gluten sensitivity, the ingestion of products containing gluten causes chronic intestinal inflammation. This pro-inflammatory state may be partly responsible for the progression of the disease. One of the alternative treatments for multiple sclerosis is therefore to limit or completely eliminate gluten.

Before any definitive exclusion, it is recommended to do an eviction test. That is to say, eliminate foods containing gluten for a few weeks and reintroduce them gradually, while monitoring the possible appearance of symptoms. Your dietician will help you adapt your diet to your situation.

Saturated fats
A diet high in saturated fats decreases membrane fluidity, leads to the production of cholesterol and contributes to the formation of inflammatory molecules, which are harmful factors in multiple sclerosis. Swank and Goodwin reported that saturated fat restriction induced remission of the disease and produced many beneficial effects in patients with multiple sclerosis. These effects were attributed to the fact that saturated fats form aggregates that cannot properly enter small capillaries. To reduce saturated fats in the diet, choose foods wisely and pay attention to the nutrition labels on products in the supermarket aisle.

Dairy Products
Multiple sclerosis is considered an autoimmune disease. The hypothesis of a link between milk consumption and multiple sclerosis emerged in the mid-1970s. Later, epidemiological studies supported this hypothesis. And this is still the case today. The proteins in milk that may be harmful in MS are the proteins that form the membranes of fat globules. Some people with multiple sclerosis may be hypersensitive to certain milk proteins. To assess whether you are intolerant to dairy products, cut them out for at least 3 months. Then gradually reintroduce them and observe the appearance of any symptoms. If unpleasant symptoms appear: bloating, nausea, joint pain, symptoms of sclerosis, then you may be sensitive to the ingestion of dairy products.

Here are the main sources of dairy products and who to avoid for a test period:

Dairy source:
Alpha-lactalbumin, butter flavoring, buttermilk, beta-lactoglobulin, butter, clarified butter, curd, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, caseinate, casein, cream, ice cream, sour cream, cheese, ghee, milk fat, butter oil, kefir, koumis, lactalbumin, lactoferrin, lactoglobulin, lactose, whey, lactulose, lactose-free milk, malt beverage mixes, whey, skim milk powder, whey powder, ovo-lactohydrolyzed protein, Simplesse® (fat replacer), skim milk solids, milk solids, modified milk substance, yogurt (from milk).

*Most likely sources of dairy products:
Cookies, flavored coffee, caramel (the candy), chocolate, deli meats, desserts (cakes, pastries), flan, soy cheese (with casein), frosting on baked goods, margarine, nougat, pies, pizza, instant, mashed, or dauphinoise potatoes, pudding, sauces, sausages, sherbets, cream soups, spreads, dips, dressings, etc.

Possible sources of dairy products:
Frozen/dehydrated foods and meals, flavoring, seasonings, caramel (the coloring agent), cereal, seasoned chips or fries, calcium-fortified juice, bread, natural and/or artificial flavoring preparation, annatto (coloring agent that may sometimes contain lactose), flavor, artificial butter flavor, tofu.

The modern diet provides far too much Omega-6, and not enough Omega-3. Even though they are essential, Omega-6 consumed in excess can promote the inflammatory state of the body and accentuate the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. It is therefore recommended, as mentioned above, to increase the consumption of Omega-3 and reduce the consumption of Omega-6 in the diet to reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Omega-6 sources to limit are:
  • Safflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Sesame oil and seeds
Other foods not recommended:
  • Processed foods
  • Sugar
  • Fast food and prepared meals
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Practical daily advice for an effective alternative treatment of sclerosis

  • Prepare a Budwig cream in order to integrate more oils rich in unsaturated fatty acids. See our Budwig cream recipe
  • Get recipe books for fish and legumes to replace as much as possible red meat in your daily diet
  • In the morning, replace cheese and eggs with nut or seed butter (almond, hazelnut, peanut, macadamia butter, etc.)
  • Prepare vinaigrettes with a variety of first cold-pressed vegetable oils

Special diet for hepatic steatosis

Hepatic steatosis, also called "fatty liver", is a disorder related to the accumulation of lipids in the liver, forming deposits. It is a reversible stage of the disease, which can however evolve towards fibrosis or even cirrhosis if no measures are taken. The special hepatic steatosis diet aims to improve liver health by reducing insulin resistance and regulating blood lipid levels.

The main points of the special hepatic steatosis diet:
  • Favour foods with a low glycemic index
  • Consume omega-3
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats
  • Reduce consumption of sugary products
  • Moderate alcohol consumption

 Benefits of the special hepatic steatosis diet

The special hepatic steatosis diet aims to :
  • Reduce or prevent insulin resistance
  • Reduce cardiovascular risk and blood lipid levels
  • Regain a healthy weight to improve hepatic steatosis
Hepatic steatosis affects 7 to 35% of adults in the United States and Europe. It is the most common cause of chronic liver disease and appears to be closely linked to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. To date, there is no official consensus on how to treat fatty liver. However, experts recommend that the first priority is to intervene at the dietary level. The goal is to adopt a diet that reduces insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk while promoting a return to a healthy weight.

Diet and liver: the importance of reducing or preventing insulin resistance

A diet high in carbohydrates has been shown to worsen liver damage. The special steatosis diet makes it possible to reduce the total amount of carbohydrates in the diet and to favor foods with a low glycemic index. Indeed, foods with a high glycemic index cause a significant increase in blood sugar levels and induce a strong secretion of insulin that is harmful to the liver.

A diet to reduce cardiovascular risk

In case of hepatic steatosis, it is essential to have a diet that includes good fats to the detriment of saturated and trans fats. Indeed, bad fats are associated with an increase in blood triglyceride levels and contribute to metabolic syndrome. The special diet for hepatic steatosis is therefore inspired by the Mediterranean diet and proposes a diet rich in mono unsaturated fatty acids and Omega-3.

The special diet for hepatic steatosis should allow weight loss

A weight loss of about 5 to 10% would be sufficient to improve the comfort of people suffering from hepatic steatosis. A specific diet combined with regular physical activity would be the best way to achieve a desirable weight loss. Changes in ALT (enzyme produced by the liver) would be visible after only one month of dieting.

Be careful though, losing weight too quickly, i.e. more than 2kg per week, can lead to inflammation. Inflammation is linked to hepatic steatosis and accelerates the progression of the disease. It is therefore necessary to remain cautious and not to lose more than 1kg per week.

Diet and liver: dietary recommendations

In case of hepatic steatosis, it is necessary to adopt an adapted diet without too much delay. Indeed, the situation being reversible, the diet will aim at reducing the blood sugar and lipid levels. By following the dietary recommendations, you will have a better chance of resting the liver and promoting its recovery.

Hepatic steatosis: what diet to adopt?

The special diet for hepatic steatosis includes foods with low energy density and low glycemic index. In addition, by promoting good fats and a good supply of antioxidants, it helps to improve liver health.

Low energy density foods for weight loss
To lose weight, it is recommended to eat foods with low energy density because they provide few calories while being satiating. The foods to be favored in the special steatosis diet are :
  • Fresh fruits
  • Seasonal vegetables
  • Skim milk
  • Low-fat milk
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Tofu
  • Pulses
  • Seafood
  • Broths and soups
Low glycemic index foods
A low glycemic index diet can be very beneficial in cases of hepatic steatosis. Indeed, it would allow to decrease the blood sugar level and not to stimulate the secretion of insulin in a too important way.

Good fats
In the context of a special diet for fatty liver, we should stick to a Mediterranean diet, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and Omega-3.

Monounsaturated fats are mostly found in olive oil, nuts and avocados. You should choose virgin olive oil from the first cold pressing to take advantage of all its health benefits. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, so they are particularly recommended for patients with hepatic steatosis. In addition, Omega-3 supplementation may decrease the amount of lipids stored in the liver. However, the optimal dose is not yet known. In any case, it is recommended to increase the consumption of food sources of Omega-3.

Foods rich in Omega-3 are
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Nuts
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Hemp
  • Chia seeds
  • Rapeseed oil
Antioxidants such as selenium, vitamin C or vitamin E could have benefits on liver health. Indeed, antioxidants decrease oxidative stress and inflammation. Although there is not yet enough evidence to link antioxidants and liver health, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants can only have health benefits. For this reason, it is recommended to consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

The fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants that are good for the liver are
  • Red fruits
  • Prunes
  • Beets
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Bell pepper
  • Red cabbage
  • Legumes
Probiotics have been proposed as an interesting treatment option for hepatic steatosis. They have a beneficial effect on the intestinal flora and could potentially have an influence on the liver by reducing oxidative stress. For the moment, there is still a lack of scientific data to frankly encourage the use of probiotics in patients with hepatic steatosis.

Other recommended foods :
  • Legumes
  • Good hydration
  • Lemon
  • Foods rich in fiber
  • Low-fat dairy products

Food not recommended in case of hepatic steatosis

Because of their harmful nature for the liver, certain foods should be avoided in the context of a special diet for hepatic steatosis. These include foods with a high glycemic index, trans fats, saturated fats and alcohol.

Foods with a high glycemic index
Foods with a high glycemic index raise blood sugar levels and cause high insulin secretion, which is harmful to fatty liver.

Foods with a high glycemic index to be avoided in the special diet for fatty liver are :
  • Breads and cereal products made with white flour: burger buns, baguettes, pastries, etc.
  • White pasta
  • Couscous
  • Instant and risotto rice, rice vermicelli
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Dry cookies
  • Sugar, honey, glucose-fructose syrup, brown sugar, dextrose
  • Sodas
  • Cakes, muffins, cereal bars
  • Jams, jellies
Trans and saturated fats
In addition to being associated with obesity, cardiovascular risks and insulin resistance, trans and saturated fats aggravate hepatic steatosis by promoting its development. Trans fats are obtained by hydrogenation of vegetable oils and contribute to increase the total cholesterol and the "bad" cholesterol (LDL). Worse, they decrease the good cholesterol (HDL). They are mostly found in industrial dishes made with margarines and hydrogenated vegetable oils. The terms indicating the presence of trans fats are: hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, hydrogenated vegetable fats, hydrogenated margarine. Saturated fats also contribute to the increase of cholesterol, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for chronic liver disease. Thus, it should be avoided by patients with fatty liver. It is recommended not to exceed two glasses of alcohol per day for women and three glasses per day for men.

One serving of alcohol is equivalent to :
  • 25cl of beer
  • 12.5cl of wine
  • 2.5cl of strong alcohol
Glucose-fructose syrup
Also called corn syrup, glucose-fructose syrup is a liquid sweetener that has gradually replaced sugar in many industrial preparations. It has been shown that a diet rich in fructose promotes the deposit of lipids in the liver. It is therefore preferable, in case of hepatic steatosis, to avoid foods containing this sweetener. Instead, make sure to choose foods that contain little added sugar.

Foods that are sources of glucose-fructose:
  • Sodas
  • Sweetened fruit drinks (cocktails, nectars, etc.)
  • Flavored yogurt
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Canned fruit
  • Industrial pastries and cakes
  • Frozen meals
  • Ketchup
  • Fruit jams and jellies
Industrial and processed products
Because they often contain a lot of sugar and bad fats, industrial and processed foods should be avoided in the special diet for hapatic steatosis. It is recommended to cook as much as possible and to avoid prepared meals and other industrial foods. Foods with sugar as one of the first ingredients on the list should be avoided. The same goes for saturated and trans fats. It is very important to read labels carefully to make the right choices.

Other foods that should not be eaten :
  • White sugar
  • Fried and breaded foods
  • Dishes with sauce
  • Refined grain products

Practical daily tips for incorporating liver-healthy foods

  • Add legumes to your menu and reduce your consumption of starchy foods
  • Cook as much as possible and prefer homemade pastries with little sugar
  • Eat fish 2 to 3 times a week
  • Replace pasta with vegetable tagliatelle
  • Replace traditional starches with quinoa and whole grain starches
  • Prefer yogurt, nuts and fruit as snacks
  • Avoid industrial and processed products as much as possible
  • Add a dash of vegetable oil to your dishes after cooking: walnut oil, rapeseed oil, linseed oil.

To go further: should we encourage the intake of betaine?

Betaine is a nitrogenous compound found in several plant and animal species. Its consumption could help treat certain liver diseases such as hepatic steatosis. For the moment, scientific studies have not been able to demonstrate any additional benefits. Betaine is found in whole grains, oatmeal, barley, quinoa, beets and spinach.

Diet for irritable bowel or IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also known as irritable bowel syndrome, is a digestive disorder characterized by abdominal pain and discomfort.

The irritable bowel diet aims to reduce the hyper stimulation and hyper distension of the intestines, which are very uncomfortable on a daily basis. By avoiding foods that irritate the intestine and by integrating the right foods, this diet helps to reduce symptoms such as gas, bloating and abdominal pain.

The 5 essential points of the irritable bowel diet:
  • Choose your fiber sources carefully
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Limit fermentable foods that irritate the intestine
  • Check your tolerance to lactose and fructose
  • Split your meals

The benefits of the Irritable Bowel Diet

The irritable bowel diet should be followed for a short period of time (approximately one month) to restore balance to the intestine.

Afterwards, when the foods that were put aside are gradually reintroduced, it also helps to identify the foods that are responsible for the digestive discomfort.

Following this diet for one month is usually enough to increase tolerance to certain foods.

Irritable bowel syndrome and diet: recommendations

The following dietary recommendations are intended to put the intestine at rest and avoid the swelling that is so unpleasant on a daily basis.

What diet to adopt in case of irritable bowel syndrome?

In the case of irritable bowel syndrome, the appropriate diet is rich in fibers that are not aggressive to the digestive system. It is also recommended to take some hygienic and dietetic measures in order to facilitate the work of the intestine and to reduce the digestive discomfort. Here are some dietary tips to apply in case of irritable bowel.

Favour soluble fibres
The lack of dietary fiber is widespread in the modern diet. However, the consumption of soluble fiber is essential to relieve people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. Soluble fiber turns into a gel during digestion, which makes it particularly gentle on the intestine. They guarantee the normal movement of the digestive tract without over-stimulating the transit. In addition, they are transformed into short-chain fatty acids that stimulate the reabsorption of water and sodium in the colon, thus avoiding loose stools. It is very important to consume them with each meal in addition to sufficient hydration.

Some foods that are sources of soluble fiber:
  • Bran and oatmeal
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Peeled apples
  • Potatoes without the skin
Drink plenty of water
It is recommended to drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water every day, especially in cases of irritable bowel. You should drink throughout the day, avoiding ice water and never drinking more than one glass at a time. This prevents abdominal distension, which is very painful for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.

Split meals
Regular food intake helps avoid cravings that often lead to eating anything, too fast and in too large a quantity. In the case of IBS, it is recommended to eat 3 main meals and 1 or 2 snacks. Splitting up meals also helps to avoid overloading the digestive system. Remember that distension of the intestine is very bad in cases of irritable bowel.

Eat cooked vegetables
Raw vegetables are often irritating for the intestine. It is therefore recommended to eat vegetables that are not very irritating and that are cooked: carrots, squash, zucchini and sweet potatoes. Because of their low insoluble fiber content, these vegetables are relatively gentle on the intestine.

As for fruits, apples are interesting because they contain pectin (soluble fiber) but they must be eaten peeled. Other insoluble fibers are concentrated in its skin.

Integrate psylium
If the above recommendations are not enough to relieve symptoms, it is possible to introduce psylium into the diet. Psylium increases the intake of soluble fiber. It is recommended to start with one tablespoon, then gradually increase to two tablespoons if tolerance is good. The intake of psylium must be accompanied by water. In case of diarrhea, the amount of water added should be slightly reduced.

Other recommended foods:
  • Soy products (milk, cream, yogurt)
  • Rice, millet and quinoa
  • Red and passion fruits according to tolerance
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Peanut and almond butters
  • Sweet herbal teas (chamomile, ginger, mint, fennel)

Irritable bowel, foods to avoid

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, certain foods should be avoided. It is recommended not to eat foods that can make the work of the intestine difficult. Here are a few tips to help you do this.

Limit insoluble fibre
For a long time, it was recommended that people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome increase their insoluble fibre intake. However, studies have since shown that they tend to make symptoms worse. Insoluble fiber is irritating and increases diarrhea. Especially those from whole wheat. Whole wheat will only be reintroduced in small doses after a month, moderate long-term consumption is generally very well tolerated.

Kamut, despite its insoluble fiber content, is much better tolerated than wheat. Kamut-based products can be an interesting alternative: bread, flour, pastries, etc.

Food sources of insoluble fiber to be limited:
  • Whole wheat, wheat bran and wheat-based products
  • Spelt
  • Peas, cabbage and broccoli
  • Dried fruits
  • Flaxseed
Reduce fats
Fats require a lot of digestive work, they stimulate the "gastro-colic" reflex of the intestine. Since intestinal movements are painful for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, it is preferable to reduce fat consumption.

For example, it is recommended to favour lean cuts of meat and fish and to avoid fried foods, breading and dishes rich in sauce or cream. Similarly, it is better to avoid pastries, pastries and other fatty cookies. Instead, bran-based cakes and the use of vegetable oil in small doses should be favored.

Avoid fermentable foods
Certain foods rich in polysaccharides and oligosaccharides reinforce the symptoms of irritable bowel. This is due to the fermentation of carbohydrates resulting from their digestion and which are neither absorbed nor degraded. In people suffering from irritable bowel, abdominal distension due to fermentation is felt much more strongly. This hypersensitivity makes digestion painful.

It is therefore recommended to avoid foods from the cabbage family or legumes that ferment a lot. However, it is important to reintroduce them gradually after 1 month because of their many health benefits.

Tofu and soy products are generally well tolerated, although they are made from legumes.

Beware of foods that irritate the intestine
Certain raw, acidic or spicy foods can irritate the intestine, especially if eaten on an empty stomach.

Even if raw vegetables do not cause irritable bowel syndrome, they can trigger attacks. Salads and raw vegetables should therefore be eaten as part of a complete meal and in moderate quantities. Adding a starchy food often increases tolerance.

Irritating foods to avoid :
  • raw vegetables
  • nuts and seeds
  • acidic fruits
  • coffee, tea and alcohol
  • citrus juices
  • spices
Beware of lactose and fructose
It seems that a certain proportion of people with irritable bowel syndrome also suffer from intolerance to fructose, sorbitol, lactose and fructans. It is recommended to test for intolerance to these substances in case of irritable bowel. These tests are readily available and measure the amount of hydrogen released after ingesting 50g of lactose. In IBS sufferers, the dose of 12g of lactose per day is generally well tolerated. If you think you may be lactose intolerant, talk to your doctor or have a test done before exclusion.

It is also considered that one third of people with irritable bowel syndrome are fructose intolerant. In this case, you should consult a dietician to find out about the appropriate diet in detail.

Some foods to avoid in case of lactose and fructose intolerance:
  • Milk-based products (yogurt, cream, butter, cheese)
  • Fruits rich in fructose: apple, pear, melon, mango, grapes, cherry, etc.
  • Dried fruits
  • Coconut
  • Fruit juice from concentrate
  • Corn syrup
Other foods not recommended:
  • Corn flakes
  • Multigrain bread
  • Onion
  • Cucumber
  • Deli meats
  • Dark chocolate
  • Carbonated beverages

Practical advice to avoid foods that irritate the intestine on a daily basis

  • Take the time to chew your food well: this facilitates the digestion of the intestine
  • Eat in a calm environment, without being stressed. The intestine is our second brain: stress can make digestion very difficult
  • Avoid frozen foods that cause spasms and cramps
  • Avoid anything that can cause gas: drinking through a straw, eating quickly, chewing gum and drinking sodas, among others
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day: between 1.5 and 2 liters
  • Use non-stick pans and prefer steaming to avoid adding fat
  • Add oat bran to your dishes (compotes, soups, salads, yoghurt) to increase soluble fiber intake

Intestinal irritation and diet: recipe ideas

Menu adapted to the special irritable bowel diet

  • Morning: "Halifax" breakfast (bread, peanut butter, banana, cereal, milk)
  • Noon: Sautéed scallops with spinach, Two slices of bread (rye), Orange segments
  • Snack: Plain yogurt
  • Evening: Maple chicken and sweet potatoes, roasted peppers, steamed quinoa and crème caramel

Going further: FODMAPs

For a few years now, the FODMAP diet, developed by Australian nutritionist Sue Shepherd, seems to be yielding significant and positive results, as shown by clinical studies.

Indeed, this diet would allow a relief of irritable bowel syndrome in about 75% of cases. The goal of the FODMAP diet is to limit fermentable sugars. When fermented by the bacteria in the colon, these sugars cause unpleasant symptoms very characteristic of irritable bowel syndrome: bloating, gas, abdominal pain, etc.

What does FODMAP mean?

  • F = Fermentable (rapidly fermented by colonic bacteria)
  • O = Oligosaccharides (fructan and GOS)
  • D = Di saccharides
  • M = Monosaccharides
  • A = And (and)
  • P = Polyols (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol)
Find all the details on the FODMAP diet in the Low FODMAP Diet file

How to make a small garden pond?

How to integrate ponds in the garden. The project: to make water ponds without an automatic electric filtration system. It is necessary to find a balance between aquatic plants and fish to keep the water clear.

Why have a pond in the garden?

In the summer, when it is hot, insects need to drink. If there is no water near the garden, they tend to move closer to the house.

The necessary utensils:

  • salvaged zinc ponds (an odd number will create a nice visual effect);
  • Pond liner;
  • neoprene glue;
  • bricks;
  • aquatic plants (oxygenating and purifying plants): water lettuce, papyrus, water iris, water lilies...

Creating the pond

Note: It is possible to create a pond above ground, but by burying the ponds, the fish will be better protected from freezing in winter.
  1. Dig holes to the size of the ponds.
  2. To avoid damage to old ponds (a little perforated or rusty), cover them with a "special pond liner". Use neoprene glue to hold it in place in the ponds.
  3. Place the ponds in the holes and fill in the empty spaces with soil.
  4. Install the plants, respecting the depth of immersion of each one (read the labels). Use the bricks to help you.
  5. Example: papyrus should be immersed between 5 and 10 cm deep.
  6. Cover the potting soil in the pots with pebbles so that it does not escape into the water.
  7. Once the pots are in place and stabilized, fill the ponds with water.

Things to know

Most aquatic plants are installed in pots. If you want them to grow, transplant them into a larger pot with special pond soil. Otherwise, leave them in their original pot.

Landscape finishing

A mineral mulch was installed around the ponds to hide the covers, to limit the development of weeds and to promote the biodiversity of the pond (insects and micro-organisms live underneath).

Then, flowers were planted all around: lavenders, heuchères...

A solar fountain was also installed to promote oxygenation of the water.

Tip: the pond should not receive more than 7 hours of direct sunlight, to avoid the proliferation of duckweed or algae.

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