HEALTHY TALK FOR THE HEART ON NATIONAL NUTRITION WEEK

National Nutrition Week is celebrated every year from 1st September to 7th September to raise awareness among people regarding proper nutrition and diet. Through good nutrition one can manage a healthy weight, maintains the immune system. As we all know that nutrition plays a very important role in keeping us healthy and happy, it is also important for us to have the complete and right information about essential nutrients for our body.

Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world. SAAOL is treating heart disease through a non-invasive way by following a zero oil diet from the past 25 years. By sharing the diet concept with people, we can improve the heart health of all people.

We start our information from the causes of heart disease. There are multiple causes of heart disease – but the deposits are mainly fat. Two kinds of fats are mainly responsible and actually deposit. These are Cholesterol and Triglycerides.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance, present everywhere in the body. Cholesterol is a long-chain fatty acid (different from triglycerides or oils or fats which has three fatty acids) – consisting of 27 carbon atoms, 46 hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom. It has been so important in medical science that since 1986 a number of Noble Prizes have been awarded to the scientists making breakthroughs in the research of cholesterol. This tiny molecule forms a major role in heart disease and in the long run it has indirectly proved more fatal than the most powerful atom bombs!

All the non-vegetarian foods contain cholesterol, from meat, fishes, and poultry to even milk and you must make a note here that no plant food can have cholesterol ever. That is why along with zero oil food, Dr. Chhajer strongly asks for a total vegetarian diet, in fact, we also limit the milk and milk products because they are of animal origin and have cholesterol in it.

Cholesterol level in the blood is not safe when about 200mg/100ml. In SAAOL, we recommend 130 mg/dl, as the required level of cholesterol in the blood for reversal of heart disease. A level above this is very harmful to heart patients especially, as any ‘extra’ cholesterol will ultimately lead to further blockage in the coronary artery and will slow down the healing process drastically. On average the intake of cholesterol by humans who eat meat 600mg/day. Vegetarians who take a lot of milk and milk products have about 200-400mg/day. The body requires 3 mg of cholesterol every day and our liver produces this much per day, so there is actually no requirement to get cholesterol from somewhere else.  

The maintenance level of blood cholesterol depends on:

1.    Intake in the form of food

2.    Production of cholesterol inside the liver and other tissues

3.    Use of cholesterol by the body

The intake of cholesterol in food can be lowered by non-consumption of non-vegetarian food items and can be easily curtailed. In some people who are genetically conditioned to produce little more cholesterol, have to take some drugs, if they cannot control the blood level by diet alone. Exercise and physical activity lead to more breakdown of cholesterol. Stress and tension can additionally increase blood cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol needs the help of oxidants for getting deposited inside the coronary arteries, which can be prevented by the use of antioxidants this stalling the deposition of cholesterol and reduce blood cholesterol by combining with bile acids.