By Dr. Chitalu Chilufya
There is need to acknowledge the fact that a lot of premature deaths in our communities are largely preventable. Diet is vitally important to all aspects of our health, but it’s smart to pay a little extra attention to your heart.
A troubled heart has a ripple effect on the wellbeing of your entire body. Heart disease is also often linked to other complaints like high blood pressure, endocarditis and coronary artery disease.
So to head off heart disease before it can take hold, evaluate your diet and see if you can make some better choices. Today, allow me to discuss how a meal of potatoes, liver and vegetables can prevent heart disease.
Potatoes: Some people avoid potatoes because they assume the white colour makes them a refined starch, which is prone to spiking blood sugar. But that’s not the case because they are full of fiber to moderate the rate of glucose absorption. A diet high in potatoes has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Potatoes also contain a significant amount of potassium, which can lower your blood pressure. Look for the red potatoes from Eastern Province to get the highest level of antioxidants.
*Liver:* This may be the only red meat you’ll ever hear linked with a heart-healthy diet. Liver has a surprisingly diverse nutritional profile, containing protein (of course), vitamin C, vitamin B12, copper, iron, and zinc. One serving of liver has about six grams of fat, but it’s the healthy kind that your heart loves. If you can stand the taste, liver is an extremely balanced source of protein. Per 100g, it provides 29g protein. The majority of nutrients in beef can be found in far greater amounts in liver. Prepare it with garlic. Meta-analyses of clinical trials demonstrate that garlic beneficially impacts hypercholesterolemic and hypertensive patients.
Vegetables: I recently covered impwa. The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content in impwa all support heart health. Generally, eating foods containing certain flavonoids, including anthocyanins, is associated with a lower risk of mortality from heart disease, according to a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) in 2008. An increased intake of anthocyanins is associated with significantly lower blood pressure.
Conclusion:His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has, for a commendable reason, taken up an ambassador role in the fight against non communicable diseases. Physical activity and a healthy eating lifestyle are key to attaining a long and healthy life. Let’s make it a personal decision to start eating nutrient dense foods and balancing energy intake with the necessary physical activity to maintain a healthy weight which is essential at all stages of life.
The Author is Zambia’s Minister of Health and a Medical Doctor by training and practice