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Heart Patients, You Must Follow These Dietary Recommendations

The Kashmir Monitor





Heart diseases account for one-third of all the deaths worldwide. They occur when the arteries and blood vessels which transport blood to the heart are blocked. They are blocked with the development of plaque, a waxy substance, in the arteries and blood vessels. The question arises what causes the plaque to develop in the arteries and blood vessels? High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity, being physically inactive and smoking are the main causes behind it. It leads to the accumulation of plaque over a period of time. Negligence of any kind towards your health is the major contributor. Ditching your unhealthy lifestyle choices is the key. Exercising regularly and opting out from smoking and drinking must be appreciated.

Here are a few dietary recommendations to be followed by heart patients:

1) Choose low fat dairy or skimmed milk (1-2 percent) over full fat milk to cut back on the intake of saturated fatty acids which can make you prone to artery clogging.


2) Completely avoid food items or grocery items that contain Trans- Fats or hydrogenated fats. These fats are responsible to raise your LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower HDL (good cholesterol). These are found in – jams, cakes, pastries, cookies, butter, mayonnaise, and margarine.

3) Regularly consume fatty fishes like salmon and mackerel as they contain good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that promote good cholesterol levels and also prevent the development of plaque on the arteries and blood vessels, keeping them free from damage

4) Garlic contains a compound called allicin which is known to lower down high blood pressure. It helps in reducing the bad cholesterol, LDL which is one of the causes of heart diseases among people.

5) Flax seeds are another variant of super foods that boast of high omega 3 fatty acids, good to promote heart health and reduce any inflammation. You can consume one to two teaspoon of flaxseeds daily. The best way to consume them is by dry roasting and then grinding them into a fine powder. This powder can be added t your curries, soups, salads or flour.

6) Cut back on salt. Aim to eat not more than two thousand milligrams of sodium, which is roughly equal to half teaspoon of salt on a daily basis. If you have constant high blood pressure, you need to further reduce the salt intake by three-fourth teaspoon on an everyday basis.

7) Clinical studies showing that consuming at least 25 g of soy protein per day lowered total and LDL cholesterol. Eat foods like soy beans, soy nuggets, tofu or tempeh to ensure goodness of soy in your diet.

8) Whole grains like quinoa contain all of the nutrient-rich parts of the grain, the germ, endosperm and the bran. Quinoa contains good amount of fibres which cut down the bad cholesterol levels and also lead to reduced levels of high blood pressure.

9) Consume more of deep colored fruits and vegetables such as spinach, carrot, peach, and blueberries as they usually contain more micronutrients compared to others.
10) Eat a whole fruit instead of fruit juice as the fruit juice is deprived of the goodness of dietary fibre which is essential for lowering of blood cholesterol and improving satiation.

11) Plan your menu well in advance. For meals and snacks, emphasize on colorful vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Focus on lean protein sources and healthy fats. Watch your portion size and choose foods low in added salt.

12) Include chia seeds in your diet. This superfood is also loaded with heart-healthy protein, minerals, and antioxidants like calcium, iron, fiber, and magnesium.

13) Quit smoking. Smoking is the top controllable risk factor for the development of heart diseases. Smoking can damage the lining of your arteries, and also can lead to build up of fatty substance called atheroma.

14) Keep moving. Regular physical activity has numerous benefits on your heart health. Choose an activity that you enjoy doing or literally love from the heart, so that your heart can love you back. Make sure to indulge in the physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, five times in a week. Also, make sure that you never skip your breakfast so that you have enough strength to regularly indulge in exercise therapy.

15) Get screened regularly. It is important to keep a tab on your numbers. Keep yourself regular with the diagnostic check up especially for your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Also, keep a track record of the improvements in these parameters. It will serve as an excellent motivator, and will keep you healthy in the long run.

For the conclusion, we emphasise on eating healthy foods. The foods included in the list above must be surely included in your diet in one way or the other. Cut down on unhealthy foods and that will not only help in keeping your heart healthy but also lowers down other health risks.

(Nmami Agarwal is a celebrity nutritionist)



Hepatitis A Causes and Symptoms

The Kashmir Monitor



Generally speaking, hepatitis A is more common in parts of the planet that are developing. It’s for the fact that sanitation and food handling practices are by and large poor. However, medical experts say that living in developed countries can also put you at risk of having hepatitis A, but it’s really a rare occurrence.

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus or HAV. It can be spread around by someone who has hepatitis A because he or she is a carrier of the virus behind it. It is said that a person with hepatitis A is most infectious about 2 weeks before he or she begins to experience signs and symptoms.

Here are some of the ways that hepatitis A is spread around:


Consumption of food that is prepared by a person who has hepatitis A. This is most especially true if he or she has not properly washed his or her hands.

Drinking of water that is contaminated with the hepatitis A virus.

Intake of raw or undercooked seafood obtained from contaminated water.

Close contact with someone who has hepatitis A. This includes having sexual intercourse with an infected person, especially when the rectal or anal area has been touched with the fingers, mouth or tongue.

Using illegal drugs, especially when paraphernalia contaminated with the hepatitis A virus are used.


Medical experts say that it may take a while before the various signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A show up. They say that someone may experience them about 4 weeks after getting infected. It’s even possible for someone with hepatitis A to not experience any sign and symptom at all.

Some of the initial signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include:

Tiredness and malaise
Achy muscles and joints
Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
Loss of appetite
Mild fever
Sore throat
Diarrhea or constipation
Hives or raised rash that’s itchy

These initial signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A can last anywhere from a few days only to a couple of weeks. Afterwards, as the infection of the liver progresses, the following may be experienced by the individual:

Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin as well as the whites of the eyes (sclera)

Pale colored stools
Dark colored urine
Skin itching

Tenderness and swelling of the upper right section of the abdomen

Although it rarely happens, hepatitis A can cause liver failure. When such develops, the person who is infected may experience severe vomiting, frequent bruising, bleeding of the nose and gums, drowsiness and confusion.

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Busting myths around blood donation

The Kashmir Monitor



As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

Contrary to the myth about blood donations making a person weak or anaemic, the body replenishes the lost blood in a matter of a few days, say experts.

“A healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets, so there is no question of becoming weak, much less anaemic. It is a myth and should not deter people from donating blood,” says Dr RK Singal, chairman, internal medicine department, BLK super-speciality Hospital.


The donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components, as there is sophisticated equipment available these days that extract relevant components from blood and the rest of the blood can be transfused back to the donor.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

About 65% of India’s population is young and if this section donates blood regularly, chances of the country facing blood shortage will be remote. Hence, there is all the more reason for people, especially youngsters, to come forward and be regular blood donors.

How to prepare

Have enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate

Have a full meal 3 hours before donation; never on an empty stomach

Have some rest for about 10-15 minutes after donation

Have some snacks or a juice with high sugar content after donation

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Erectile dysfunction’s connection with lifestyle

The Kashmir Monitor



By Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal

healthy-lifestyle-can-reverse-effects-of-hypertensionAll over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED).

All over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED). From my research, I have found a strong link between ED and stress. Other major causes include smoking, drinking, diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. My advice to these patients is — do not get even more stressed over this situation. Instead, focus on taking the right medication and making some changes to your lifestyle, so you can once again enjoy a satisfactory sexual life.



We normally diagnose ED and its underlying causes by asking the patient a few questions about his medical and sexual history. This is sometimes done by sharing a questionnaire with the patient. The questions that we ask are designed to help us understand the cause of ED in the particular patient.

We also do a physical exam, ask for certain blood tests to rule out other medical conditions responsible for erectile dysfunction, and recommend imaging tests (if required) to determine whether the person is physically able to have an erection or not.


Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels) can cause ED. In these cases, ED can be reversed once the patient starts treatment.

In my experience, many men suffer from ED because of work stress, family pressure and anxiety. So, changes in lifestyle with regular exercise, yoga, abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and proper counselling help in treating ED. Along with this, medicines for ED are usually prescribed for about 3 to 6 months by which time lifestyle changes start to take effect and the patient is physically and mentally healthier, which helps resolve the problem.

An estimated 16% to 25% of men experience ED at some point in their lives. I would urge them not to be embarrassed about it. Seek medical help from a urologist or andrologist; get the necessary advice/medication; and go on to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling sexual life.

The author of this article is Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal, head, andrology, department of urology sciences, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

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