The world celebrates International Heart Day on 29th September to celebrate good health and disease free heart for all of us. This year the theme for the day was 'Use heart to beat CVD' ( Cardio Vascular Diseases ). This year we have witnessed a whole another phase of life and all of us have become a little more conscious about the health of our heart than we were before. All thanks to the pandemic. But as the numbers of patients start to increase in our city we start worrying about our health as the lockdowns have restricted our workouts to home and there seems no other way to fight the battle for good health. But our food and nutrition is a vital source of our good health. In fact workout if not paired with healthy diet is absolutely of no use. So instead of losing hope for limited workout, lets turn our focus on enhancing the nutritional value of our food and keep the heart healthy. In this case, there are a few things that we consume of daily basis without giving a thought to what and how much damage it must be doing to our health and our heart. Let us take a look at these foods and try to cut them out from our daily dose.
First let us understand, how the flour is produce. The process itself will answer the question that why it is unhealthy for our body. To produce the white flour, wheat grains are processed and their germ and bran are separated. After the processing, what is left is the endosperm which is ground well and then bleached to form the white coloured flour. In this process, most of the nutrition of the wheat grain is shed away, besides it is also exposed to harmful chemicals like bleach in a raw condition. Indian snacks and sweets are largely made of Maida. May it be Samosa, Puri, Naan, Roti, Noodles, Momos, and other bakery items like bread, cookies, biscuits and so many more. Excess use of Maida in regular consumption can cause several serious problems which we are not much aware about. The glycaemic index of Maida is very high which makes it potential enough to make us obese as quickly as possible. The flour contains no fibre which makes it difficult to digest. Maida is also associated with diabetes since the refined flour demands for more insulin secretion in the body in order to digest it, resulting into increased sugar levels.
The process through which Maida leads to diabetes is the same for Sugar. High level sugar intake can cause increased demand of insulin in the body to regulate the excess sugar consumed thus creating a pressure on the heart and also leading to diabetes. Our body has both good and bad cholestrol and what excess sugar does here is that it lowers the levels of HDL ( good cholestrol ) and increases the level of LDL ( bad cholestrol ), which ultimately creates pressure on heart. We consume sugar not only through sweets but from products like Cold drinks, Packed fruit juices, Jam, Ketchup, Breakfast cereal, Vitamin water and many more. In fact even in regular use, jaggery is much more beneficial than sugar because although both are produced from sugarcane juice, sugar is treated with charcoal and made look transparent and crystalline. Whereas jaggery is not processed that much and hence can prove to be a healthier option to replace sugar.
Salt is an important ingredient of daily food. But even a little increase in the intake can create much change in the body and not the good one. Fast food, baked food, packed food are all already high in their salt content. There are many foods which are rich in salt in their natural form such as carrots, beets, meat, fish and while cooking them we must take care of the amount of salt we add excessively. Any food in its processed form can harm the body in some. So it is better to prefer naturally present sources of salt. When salt intake becomes more than the appropriate amount, it can lead to higher blood pressure and end up putting pressure on the heart. What actually happens while digesting salts is that it results in more water in the blood vessels, increasing the volume of the blood. This condition makes it difficult for the heart to pump to blood and thus creates pressure on it.
So next time when you buy anything from the market, make it a habit to check the nutrition content and then make a wise choice for yourself. Remember, only a healthy heart can provide you a healthy life. And a healthy lifestyle can keep your heart healthy.
- Himali Nalawade