Heart Attacks are majorly caused due to plaque formation in heart arteries which disallows proper blood flow, causing damage to the heart muscles. The two main factors causing blockage in heart arteries are high levels of cholesterol levels and triglycerides. The increased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood stream lead to triggering of blockage, causing heart attacks. Millions of people suffer from heart attacks every year globally because of these two kinds of fats. Despite this, many cardiologists have started to allow the Cholesterol levels above 180mg/1 and Triglycerides above 160mg/d1.
How is Obesity related to Cardiac Ailments?
The connection between excess body weight and how it leads to various cardiac ailments is through Calories. The human body requires calories to turn them into energy; the food we consume is carried to the muscles by glucagon for obtaining energy. The body then creates insulin in order to consume these calories, but if the body is not consuming the calories, they will be stored in the body as fat. But the production of insulin will increase in order to maintain the glucose levels. The excessive amount of fat stored in the body will prevent the metabolic functions to behave normally. Excess fats will prevent muscles to absorb glucagon, thus pushing the body to produce more insulin in order to maintain activity. And when activity does not function even after production of excess insulin, the body becomes insulin resistance i.e. diabetic. Putting on excess body weight not only causes diabetes but other co-morbidities like obesity and hypertension.
How can you prevent a Heart Attack?
Myocardial Infarction, commonly known as Heart Attack can occur at any point of time after the blockage of arteries goes beyond 50%. The membrane is prone to rupture at 50% to 70% level if it is weak. Patients are sometimes unaware of the blockage because less than 70% of the blockage doesn’t give out any major symptoms. A non invasive CT Coronary Angiography can easily detect any blockage in the heart in less than 2 minutes. The test has become easily available in India in the past few years and is gaining popularity due to fast results. But after the blockage crosses 70-80%, angina is prone to happen and can be detected through a TMT (exercise stress test) or again by CT angiography. Early detection can help remove causes of blockage and prevent heart attacks.
Weight loss through diet and physical exercise are the only two factors that can curb down the risk of cardiac ailments. While some people have started to believe that the meaning of dieting is to starve, the actual meaning of dieting is restricted intake of calories and recommended values of carbohydrates, proteins and essential fats. It is also recommended to exercise daily at least for 30-45 minutes followed by weight bearing exercise regime. As physical activity, exercise, aerobics will help in building the muscle mass, which is essential for absorbing the excess calories. It is not necessary that a person should lose 3-4 kgs in a month, but steadily losing even 1 kg per month is enough.
What is Zero Oil Cooking Technique?
Triglycerides is a form of oil and is commonly known and used in every household. It is also known to form blockages in the coronary arteries causing various types of cardiac ailments. Adding any amount of oil in our daily lives can indirectly lead to harmful effects on the body in the long run. A misconception is formed that by adding oil, we are adding flavor and taste to our food but Oil isn’t known to have any taste. You can even try by tasting one spoon of oil for confirmation. Oil only helps cook or season the spices we add to provide taste. But did you know that the same taste can be achieved without adding a drop of oil? We have tested and developed more than 500 kinds of recipes without the use of oil which are equally tasty. For our basic requirement of fats the nature has packed some fats/triglycerides with every food like rice, wheat, pulses, fruits and vegetables.
Other major sources of oil include dry fruits like Almond, Walnuts, Cashew nuts and Pistachio which have more than 50% oil in them. Coconut and Ground nuts have about 40% oil or triglycerides in them. However there has been a misconception among the patients that they do not have fats. Some people say it will increase your HDL level or they contain omega 3 oil but these nuts also have 40-64% triglycerides and will increase the triglyceride levels in the blood. Hence, nuts of any kind are banned for heart patients. Resins (kismis, munakka), figs (anjir) dates (khajur) and apricots (Khumani) have almost no amount of oil in them and can be consumed if a heart patient has no sugar problem.
(The Author is Director, SAAOL Heart Centre)