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     Diet and Heart Disease - Redefining the good life

About Miss Noreen Aslam

A person's diet has a strong influence on three of the major risk factors for heart attack -- high blood cholestrol, high blood pressure and excess body weight. Healthy food habits helps to reduce risk of stroke, because heart disease and high blood pressure are major risk factors for stroke.
A heart-healthy diet consists of making the right daily food choices that add up to a lifetime of good dietary habits.

Eat less fat, saturated fat, and Cholestrol
       *A diet high in fat, particularly saturated fat, raises blood cholestrol level and contributes           to obesity.
       * A high cholestrol intake can also increase blood cholestrol level. So cholestrol intake           should be limited by restricting consumption of egg yolks, meats and organ meats.
       * Include fat-free and low-fat milk products, skinless poultry and lean meats.

Know your fats?

Cholestrol is a fatty substance found in animal foods (meat, poultry, egg yolks, whole milk, cheese, ice cream, butter).
High density Lipoprotein (HDL) is a type of cholestrol that may protect against heart disease (good cholestrol).
Low density Lipoprotein (LDL) is a harmful type of cholestrol that deposits on artery walls and increases the risk of heart disease (bad cholestrol).
Monosaturated fat is a type of unsaturated fat that lowers blood cholestrol. It is found in olive oil and peanut oil.
Polysaturated fat is a vegetable fat that lowers total blood cholestrol. It is found in cottonseed, soyabean, sunflower and safflower oils.
Saturated fat is an animal fat that raises total blood cholestrol. It is found in hydrogenated vegetable fats, coconut and palm oils, cocoa butter, meat fat, whole milk, butter cream and fatty cheese.
Triglycerides are fats in the blood that may increase the risk of heart disease.

Eat more foods high in complex Carbohydrates and fiber
            * Carbohydrate foods do not increase total serum cholestrol and are less likely to                  cause obesity than fatty foods.
            * Complex carbohydrates are especially good because they have a lot of nutrition                  per calorie and are rich in vitamins and nutrients.
            * They are also high in the type of fiber (part of the plant body can't digest). Fiber                  relieves constipation and lowers blood cholestrol levels.
Complex carbohydrates include grains, such as wheat, rice, corn and their products such as cereals, breads and pasta; peas and beans such as split peas, lentils, kidney beans and chick peas; and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, yams and winter squashes.
                            * Research has suggested that people consuming a diet high in complex carbohydrates can maintain or even lose weight while eating as much as they want to of these foods. They don't count calories or portions and eat until they are full. Researchers theorize that people consuming a diet high in these foods feel full and quit eating before they have consumed too many calories. Just the opposite can happen with foods high in fat. Since a lot of calories are contained in a small volume, you can eat hundreds of calories in a very short period of time.

Eat more fish & chicken
            * People who include fish in their diets have a lower risk of heart disease. Because                  they contain omega-3 fatty acids which help to prevent heart disease by                  decreasing the tendency of platelets to clump & perhaps by lowering total serum                  cholestrol as well.
            * Use broil or baked chicken because their fat burns up during cooking.

Eat less sugar & salt
            * Refined sugars (sucrose, dextrose, syrups and other sugar products) provide                  empty calories, that is, they have no other beneficial nutrients. They contribute to                  obesity since they are often consumed with fats in pies, pastries,cakes,cookies,                  and candies.
            * Hypertension (high blood pressure) is more prevalent in population groups that                 consume high levels of sodium.Always avoid to add additional salts in foods.                  Some research suggests that it may take years for a high salt intake to cause                  hypertension. So most people do not realize that their salt intake is harming their                  health.

Avoid Alcohol
            * Too much alcohol is associated with increased risk of hypertension.
            * Alcoholic drinks are empty calories and can thus contribute to obesity.

Concepts of New Millenium
            * Make sure your diet is well balanced and contain plenty of fiber.Eat plenty of raw                 foods. For protein eat broiled fish, chicken which are low in fat. Drink distilled                  water.
            * Include garlic, onion and lecithin effectively reduce serum cholestrol levels.
            * Don't consume stimulants, such as coffee and black tea that contain caffeine.
            * Avoid tobacco & alcohols.
            * If you are taking anticoagulant like aspirin, don't take supplemental Vitamin K.
            * According to some studies, magnesium supplementation can correct some types of                  irregular heart beat & could save the life of many people with heart trouble.
            * Don't consume chocolates, sugars, animal butter, hydrogenated oils and refined                  foods, soft drinks and spicy foods.

Life Style changes
            * Keep your weight down. Obesity and high blood pressure are risk factors for                  heart attacks. Get regular moderate exercise. Caution: if you are over 35 and/or                  have been sedentary for sometime, consult with your health care provider
               before begining an exercise program.
            * A walking, swimming or other aerobic exercise started gradually and consistently                 used will greatly improve the physical conditioning of the heart.
            * Avoid stress and learn stress management techniques such as progressive                  relaxation, mediation or guided imagery.
            * If you experience any of the symptoms of a heart attack, contact your doctor or                  go immediately to the emergency room of the nearest hospital, even if symptoms                  last only for few minutes. Half of all heart attack deaths occur within 3 to 4 hours                  of the onset of the attack, so a person suffering from a heart attack requires                  immediate medical attention.

Pakistan Dietetic & Nutrition Association
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