World Heart Day: This is why these 4 good looking foods can be bad for you
In urban India, higher disposable incomes and Masterchef shows have spawned a generation of people who like to ‘dress up’ their food. This has spawned a culture where ‘well-dressed’, ‘well-plated’ food, presented in conjunction with some non-native gourmet products or quaint items with mysterious names, have become a part of daily lives on many people.
There are many exotic sounding foods that are not healthy at all. For eg; ingredients like organic raw cane sugar, which is compositionally 100% identical to regular sugar, is still just glucose and fructose, with little to no nutrients.
Here are three things you need to be wary of before you begin to have them or advocate them to others:
Gluten-free junk food
Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like wheat. While a doctor may advise certain patients to stay away from it, most people tolerate gluten just fine.
“Unless under specific medical advice, you must know that gluten free food is likely to contain more fat than normal versions of the same food, and less fiber and protein, too. Hence, be careful what you choose,” advises Dr Vijay DSilva, Medical Director, Asian Heart Institute.
If you have a largely sedentary lifestyle, and go for the occasional run or work out, you don’t need sports drinks. These drinks contain electrolytes (salts) and sugar, which can be useful for athletes in many cases. Most regular people don’t need any additional salts, and they certainly have no need for liquid sugar.
Many people use dressings to add flavour to their salads. But many salad dressings are actually loaded with unhealthy ingredients like sugar, vegetable oils and trans fats, along with a bunch of artificial chemicals. Although vegetables are good for you, eating them with a dressing high in harmful ingredients will totally negate any health benefit you will get from the salad.
“Make sure to check the ingredients list before you use a salad dressing, or make your own using healthy ingredients, such as honey and lemon,” says Dr Vijay DSilva, Medical Director, Asian Heart Institute.
Choosing your sweetener
“Dates, nuts, ghee, milk, ripe fruits, rice, wheat, corn, cinnamon and nutmeg are some natural and healthy sweets that satiate your dietary requirement. Moderation is the key, in excess sweets are associated with health problems like weak digestion, swollen lymphatic gland, intestinal worms, Obesity and Diabetes. A common misconception is that jaggery (gur) is a lot better than sugar. Gur has more nutrients than sugar, nevertheless, it must be used sparingly,” says Dr Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda.
Apart from your diet, and other habits, ayurveda has also been known to help in improving heart disease. “Ayurveda places the heart at the centre of different physical and spiritual principles. For instance, the heart is considered central in Marma therapy. Similarly, the Anahata Chakra which resides in the heart is at the centre of all seven chakras. Ojas, the essence of energy and immunity is also located in the heart,” says
While you need to keep these things in mind, it is also imperative that you go for regular cardiac screening, especially after the age of 40.
“Even young people after the age of 30 should undergo cardiac check ups. The incidence of heart disease has increased dramatically in the recent years especially among the youngsters. Some of the screening tests like stress test, echocardiogram and CT scan for coronary calcium are safe, cheap, easily available and informative,” says Dr Santosh Kumar Dora, Senior Cardiologist, Asian Heart Institute.