Thursday, March 6, 2008

Combat Heart Disease

The danger of heart disease can and should be combatted on a daily basis in every home in South Africa - in fact, only in this way can we hope to lower our tragically high CHD statistics. Here are some tips for preventing the development of two of the major offenders - high blood cholesterol levels and hypertension - that you can put into practice in your own kitchen:

To cut back on saturated fats:

  1. Choose poultry, fish and lean cuts of meat more often and remove the skin and trim the fat from meat.
  2. Drink skim or 2% milk rather than the full-cream version. Eat low-fat cheese instead of hard cheese such as Cheddar.
  3. Use tub margarines and/or vegetable oils (sunflower, olive oil) that are high in unsaturated fat instead of butter, lard and hard margarine - which are all high in saturated fat.
  4. Cut down on commercially prepared and processed foods made with saturated fats and oils (such as biscuits, pies and pastries).

To cut down on dietary cholesterol:

Diet Start
  • Eat less organ meat such as liver, brains and kidneys.
  • Eat fewer egg yolks and try substituting two egg whites for each whole egg in recipes.

To increase complex carbohydrates:

  • Eat more whole grain breads and cereals, pasta, rice and legumes (dried peas and beans).
  • Eat fruit and vegetables more often.

To lose weight:

  • Eat fewer kilojoules daily (cutting back on fat will really help).
  • Burn up extra kilojoules by exercising regularly.

To reduce your total salt intake:

Remove the salt cellar from the table.

  • Gradually reduce and/or omit salt in cooking (see below).
  • Avoid foods with a high sodium content - the major culprits are canned, processed and convenience foods, such as bacon, sausages, salami, potato crisps, salted nuts, salty biscuits, powdered soups, gravy powders, stock cubes, sauces and dressings.
  • Read food labels and avoid foods with added salt/sodium.

To cut back on alcohol:

  • Choose low alcohol wines or beer.
  • Dilute white wine with mineral or soda water.

Cutting salt out of cooking

You can get used to cooking with very little or no added salt by:

  • Using garlic, dry mustard, peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes to add flavour to meat and vegetable dishes in place of salt.
  • Adding a little wine to casseroles and stews. The alcohol willevaporate during cooking, but the flavour remains.
  • Adding sliced lemon or lemon juice to white meats and fish.
  • Using herbs (such as basil, origanum, sage and thyme) and spices (such as cardamon, cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg) for flavour.

... andjoyohoxing