Did you know that Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) has become the main reason for most of the deaths in the world? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2017 22.54% of people have died due to CVD (22 854 deaths). But by changing your food habits and dietary patterns you may prevent this risk.
This condition occurs mainly due to the blocking of blood vessels, named coronary arteries which supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart through the blood. If these coronary arteries get blocked there may be abeyance of blood flow to the heart and a reduction of oxygen and nutrients supply to the heart. This blocking may happen only in one part of the heart. As a result, severe pain may occur associated with the chest area. This situation is named “Angina”. That is a warning for an aggravating heart attack. Occurring of this forthwith blocking is a heart attack.
How a heart-attack occur?
Deposition of lipid in the walls of blood vessels which supply blood to the heart is the main reason for this. As a result, space for the blood flow reduces and the elasticity of these blood vessels may also reduce. This condition is called atherosclerosis. The possibility of blood vessels being blocked by blood clots also becomes high in this case. Damage can cause to the heart when the blood flow is not normal.
Do you know risk factors related to heart attacks??
- Tobacco usage
- Unhealthy food patterns
- Lack of physical activity
- Age more than 40 years (With increasing age, fat deposition also gets increased)
- Gender (women have more risk of heart attack than men )
- Obesity (BMI >25)
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)-
- High blood glucose level (Diabetes)
- High blood cholesterol or triglyceride level (Hyperlipidemia)
- Ethnic background (Asians are at a higher risk of getting a heart attack)
But do you know that a healthy diet pattern may contribute to a reduced risk of heart diseases
- For an average adult; Eat 2-3 cups of cooked rice per meal. 5-10 string hoppers, 1-2 pieces of pittu, or 2-4 hoppers can be taken as a main meal as an alternative to rice.
- Mix flour from pulses/legumes (Ulundu, Soya, Mung, Kadala) or millets (Kurakkan) with wheat flour when preparing food which will improve the nutritional value. Use atta flour or mix it with wheat flour for the preparation of food like chapathi, rotti.
- As fiber-rich food, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is better for health.
- Eat at least 9 tablespoons of cooked vegetables or 3 cups of raw vegetable salads a day.
- When eating fruits,
- 1-2 medium-size fruits (Banana, Orange, Mango)
- 1- 1 1/2 cups of cut fruit/fruit salad
- 4-6 teaspoons of dried fruits a day.
- Eating fatty fish that contains omega-3 such as Hurulla, Salaya, Salmon at least 2-3 times per week is good to reduce the risk of heart diseases.
- Reducing the amount of salt used in dried fish preparation is healthier.
- Consumption of meat types like beef, pork, and mutton should be reduced as they contain more saturated fatty acids which increase the risk of heart diseases. But if you want to eat meat, you can consume poultry in moderate amounts. Discard the skin of the chicken and remove the visible fat in the meat before cooking. (3-4 medium size pieces)
- Although egg yolk contains more cholesterol, it may not be harmful to healthy people. And also, those who suffer from heart diseases or have a high risk of heart diseases can consume 1 egg or 1-2 egg whites per day.
- Limit the consumption of cakes, biscuits, short-eats, fried snacks as they contain a high amount of trans fats.
- Limit the sugar consumption to 2 teaspoons per day.
- Limit the salt consumption to 1 teaspoon per day.
- Limit the consumption of processed meat like sausages, meatballs, ham, bacon as they contain trans fat which is harmful to the heart.
- The bulk margarine which you buy contains more trans fat, you should limit the consumption of them. Use trans fat removed margarine alternative to bulk margarine.
- Minimize deep frying as it is unhealthy and use shallow frying instead when preparing food. Shallow frying needs a little amount of oil than deep frying.
- Use coconut oil which contains more saturated fatty acids for deep frying & uses vegetable oils that contain less saturated fatty acids for shallow frying. Do not re-use oil once used for food preparations because trans fats may be produced while frying.
- Use more secondly extracted milk than the first milk in coconut milk usage.
- Use cold water for the extraction of coconut milk instead of hot water to reduce the fat amount. And also use hand or manual method in extracting coconut milk than using blenders to reduce the possibility of adding fat to meals.
- When choosing milk or dairy products, you should concern about the following.
- The full cream milk contains high amounts of saturated fatty acids
- But skimmed milk products have nearly all the fat removed.
- Low-fat milk contains fat less than half of the fat of full cream milk.
- Nonfat milk is preferable to adults, obese children & especially for those with cardiovascular diseases as animal fat aggravates cholesterol deposition in blood vessels and that may lead to the risk of heart diseases.
- When consuming fermented milk products, curd made from buffalo milk is better than curd made from cow’s milk because buffalo milk contains less fat.
- Most cheese contains high amounts of saturated fat. So it is important to eat full-fat cheese occasionally and in small portions.
- Plant foods with antioxidants and bioactive compounds help in the prevention of heart diseases. So eating plenty of fruits & vegetables rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E & beta carotene which act as bioactive compounds is good for better health.
- Fruits – Oranges, Apples, Plums, Berries
- Vegetables – Tomato, Spinach, Beetroot
- Dry fruits – Prunes, Dates
- Some spices – Cloves, Ginger
- Oil types – Olive
- Fatty nuts – Peanuts
- Some B vitamins (Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folate) are healthy as they contribute to reducing the risk of heart diseases by lowering the Homocysteine amino acid level in blood.
- Vitamin B6 – Meat, Eggs, Milk, Soya, Potatoes
- Vitamin B12 – Animal foods like Meat, Fish, Milk & Cheese
- Folate – Green vegetables like Cabbage, Spinach, Chickpea, Liver, Cauliflower
- Avoid smoking
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Do exercises 3-4 times per week for about 45 minutes for a day.
Let’s avoid the risk of heart diseases by following the proper nutritional advice.