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09 Dec 2023, Edition - 3070, Saturday

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Feed your kids the right foods for a healthy heart

Covai Post Network


You’re not alone if you think that heart diseases are to do only with adults and older people. The bitter truth is that it can affect people of all ages, including children. More and more studies are indicating that there is a significant rise in the number of children being affected by high blood pressure, heart diseases and so on.
It is important to note that a hypertensive child is a hypertensive adult. High blood pressure developed during childhood or adolescence doesn’t go away but persists into adulthood. So it’s time we all understand that good heart health starts from childhood. Dr. Sripriya Venkiteswaran, Nutrition Advisor, MonkeyBox writes about all that you need to know for a healthy heart.

What hurts the heart?
Well, we aren’t talking about love, but rather of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and derailed blood lipids like high triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Smoking (even passive) and tobacco also choke the blood vessels and thereby affect the heart.

What keeps the heart from falling apart?
Prevention is always better than cure. Period. No doubt that there are some factors such as genetic predisposition that we can’t alter, however, apart from ensuring your child sleeps well, exercises at least 30 minutes a day you also got to mind their diet.

· Everyone talks of cholesterol when it comes to the heart. However, rather than cholesterol in the food, it is the trans-fats that are the main culprits. So keep out bakery food, deep-fried foods, bread-spreads, and margarine items. Use seasoned hung curd instead of the cheese spreads on sandwiches.
· All fat isn’t bad, omega-3 foods like salmon, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts promote heart health.
· Excess of sugars over an extended period of time lead to obesity which can, in turn, lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. Say no to packed juices and carbonated beverages. Why not try fruit-infused water instead!
· Be cautious of foods with added sugar. They are disguised as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, malt, glucose solids, golden syrup, blackstrap molasses, and so on.
· Fill your child’s diet with whole grain foods and include plenty of fruits and vegetables. This way kids enjoy the goodness of fiber. It is the perfect weapon to keep away those extra pounds as it provides satiety and prevents overeating. Fiber also binds with the cholesterol in the gut and gets excreted.
· Sauces, dips, spreads, ketchup, tasting salt (MSG), table salt, processed and ready-to-eat foods – they all have one thing in common, sodium. Excess sodium can cause high blood pressure. So restrict it to 2400 mg a day for kids. That translates to about 5 g (1 tsp) of salt per day. Use herbs, spices, and lemons to season their food.

In a nutshell, keep an eye out for the trans-fat, sodium, and sugars. Read food labels for the same and pick out the best option.

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