Posted on August 09, 2014

Maryam Aarif al-Mulla,  therapeutic food specialist at the Heart Hospital (pictured) has said  that overweight and obesity in addition to high levels of cholesterol and diabetes are considered to be the main factors which increase the risk of heart diseases.

Arabic daily Arrayah quoted her as saying that all these diseases are linked in their essence with the system of food that people consume in their daily life. High blood pressure leads to increase in thickness and stiffness of the heart muscle which can increase the risk of clot and heart attacks in addition to failure of the heart muscle. Food should contain elements that produce small levels of cholesterol and obesity must be avoided, al-Mulla said. She gave 11 tips for avoiding these problems and better heart health.

They are: Take a balanced diet comprising different food items and eat the main meals regularly; Reduce the intake of milk products which are high in fat; Eat more vegetables, fruits, and green salad and legumes; Eat fibrous food items, Reduce the intake of foods containing much sugar, fatty milk and ghee; Avoid  fried foods as far as possible. Boiling, steaming or grilling are the ideal methods of cooking; Use plant (vegetable) oils such as olive, corn and sunflower in cooking; Take a small quantity of nuts daily as they contain fibre, Vitamin E and other minerals which are antioxidants, good to the body and heart and assist in lowering bad cholesterol; Reduce the intake of shrimp, lobster and crabs which contain too much cholesterol; Avoid eating organs such as liver, kidney, brain, heart; Drink large quantities of water and liquids, especially in the hot weather.

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In yet more evidence that avoiding meat is good for the health, a UK study has found that vegetarians are one-third less likely to be hospitalised or die from heart disease than meat and fish eaters. Previous research has also suggested that non-meat eaters have fewer heart problems. The lower heart risk was likely due to lower cholesterol and blood pressure among vegetarians in the study, the researchers said.

However, just scaling back on saturated fat can also make a difference. Butter, ice cream, cheeses and meats all typically contain saturated fat. According to a first-of-its-kind report from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in four US deaths from heart disease could be avoided with better prevention efforts and treatment. Heart disease is the leading killer in the US, accounting for nearly 800,000 deaths a year - about 30% of all US deaths.

The report looked at preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke defined as those that occurred in people under age 75 that could have been prevented by more effective public health measures, lifestyle changes or medical care.

source: Gulf Times