Nutritionist Dr Anjali Mukerjee believes that most of the time we are so eager to please our palate that we don’t stop to think about what the food on our plate is doing to our body. Ironically, many of us are undernourished, not because we don’t eat enough, but because we eat the wrong food. Refined and high-fat food that is stripped of nutrients upsets the ability of our body to handle cholesterol correctly. Here, she talks of ways to introduce heart-friendly foods in your diet.
n Crush garlic and cook it lightly with tomatoes in a teaspoon of olive or groundnut oil. Spread the paste on a slice of whole wheat bread or a whole wheat khakra (oil free), and have it for breakfast along with a glass of vegetable juice made from half a raw onion, two carrots and two tomatoes. (Ajoene, the anti-coagulant compound in garlic, is released in the presence of heat and acidic food like tomatoes.)
n Regular intake of red wine (in moderation), or black grape juice, seems to promote anti-coagulant activity, discouraging heart disease.
n The garam masala used in Indian cooking discourages clumping of blood platelets. Cloves and cummin seed powder also promote anti-clotting.
n Stick to whole grain cereals like whole wheat, brown rice, jowar, bajra and nachni.
n Drink a glass of green juice regularly. You could make it with wheat grass or mint and coriander. According to Chinese medicine, green juices are highly beneficial to the liver, which is the main organ involved in the metabolism of fats.
n At least 25% of your diet should consist of vegetables other than potatoes. Vegetables are rich in soluble fibre and help lower cholesterol.
n Eat two cloves of chopped raw garlic daily as it helps dilate blood vessels and also lowers blood pressure.
n Eat half an onion with each meal. This helps thin the blood.
n If you already suffer from heart disease, include raw onions, ginger, black mushrooms, garlic and green tea in your daily diet as these foods help fight blood clots.
n Consume a bowlful of black or green chana boiled and tossed with salad and a teaspoon of olive oil regularly. This mix is rich in soluble fibre and folic acid and brings down cholesterol and homocysteine levels.
n Vitamin E helps prevent LDL oxidation. Required dosage is between 200-400IU daily.
n Restrict sugar intake as much as possible.