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The World Heart Day is on the 29th of September 2011. A Heart Healthy Diet is not only for those who have problems related to the heart (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack, etc). Following is a healthy diet which can be beneficial for all, especially since research shows that Indians are genetically predisposed to heart disease.
A heart friendly diet should be:
- High Fiber - Studies have shown that a diet high in fiber helps in reducing cholesterol. Include whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat atta, ragi, jowar, bajra, whole wheat bread/pasta) and pulses, fresh fruits, vegetables and green leafy vegetables.
- Low Fat - A diet low in fat, especially saturated fats (those found in butter, ghee, cream) and trans-fat (dalda/vanaspati, margarine,) is shown to be beneficial.
- High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids - A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids is seen to benefit those who are at high risk for ischemic heart disease (IHD). It is essential for numerous normal body functions like building cell membranes in the brain and controlling blood clotting. Fish, walnuts, flax seeds, soy beans, spinach/palak should be included see the benefits.
- Low in Sodium - Sodium is known to increase the BP and put more pressure on the internal organs including the heart. The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for salt is less than a teaspoon/day.
- Rich in Antioxidants - Found in coloured fruits, vegetables and grains, antioxidants are believed to help prevent disease by fighting free radicals which are substances that harm the body when left unchecked.
Here’s a sample diet* -
On rising: Water + Walnuts
Breakfast: Oats Peas Dosa + Mint and Coriander Chutney + Black Berries
Mid-morning: Green Tea + Apple
Lunch: Brown Rice + Palak Dal Curry + Cabbage and Pea’s Sabzi
Cucumber and Tomato Salad + Buttermilk/Chaas (made from skimmed milk)
Evening: Tea/Coffee (with skimmed milk/ Soy milk) with Channa chaat
* All recipes available in our ‘Popular Recipe’ section
Prevention is always better than cure and this is true even for the matters of the heart! Why wait for heart problems to crop up and then change your diet? By eating healthy now, you may be able to prevent/avoid heart diseases in the future.