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Breathe: The Heart-Diet Connection

Feb/03/2024 / by team-seema

Conscious choices can better protect your health

February reminds us to take care of our heart—not just romantically, but also physically. South Asians in particular face increased risk of heart disease due to the way fat is stored in the body and higher levels of a certain type of cholesterol
called lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a). The good news is the South Asian diet can
actually promote heart health when prepared mindfully, according to the National Lipid Association. That means keeping a high ratio of vegetables in the diet, eating plenty of lentils and legumes, and choosing non-tropical vegetable oils. Here are other ways the organization suggests to eat well with your heart in mind:

Select whole grains.

Choose brown rice or 100% whole wheat flour or ragi (pearl millet) flour. Add ground oatmeal or soy flour or amaranth flour to your flour.

Choose plant-based protein.

Tofu is a good source of high-quality protein. Use tofu in place of paneer. Lentils (dal) or legumes (beans) e.g. chickpeas and black-eyed beans are also good choices

Eat foods low in saturated and trans fats.

Avoid ghee, vanaspati, butter, cream,palm oil and coconut oil in food preparation and in processed foods. For a creamy texture, use pureed almonds (nut butters) or non-fat yogurt.

Enjoy healthful foods when dining out.

Choose fish and chicken entrees cooked in a tandoor. Ask for foods to be made with unsaturated oils like canola and olive and naan to be made without butter. Avoid food made with added cream or butter (makhani), coconut oil, and fried foods. Choose appetizers cooked in a tandoor, fruit chaat, and roasted.


» 3 oz. fish or chicken or 1 cup legumes (daal, sambar)
» 1 cup vegetable curry
» 1 cup shredded carrot/vegetable salad with lemon juice
» ½ cup non-fat plain yogurt for lassi or raitha
» 2/3 cup cooked brown rice or 2 small whole-wheat chapatis
» 1 TBSP oil (canola, olive, sunflower, or soy bean oil for cooking)
» 1 serving fresh fruit

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