Matters of heart

Matters of heart

Ananth Sudheeksharan, a 24-year-old year software professional, moved to the city after he landed himself a cushy job and a fat pay-cheque.

The job came with tight deadlines which led to improper eating and consumption of fast food. One day, while climbing the steps to his apartment, he almost collapsed.

This came as a shock as his cholesterol level had gone up. This pushed him to monitor his food habits.

Ananth says, “The moment the doctor told me that I could have suffered a stroke, I swapped to healthy eating habits.” This is not just Ananth’s tale but the story of many youngsters in the city.

In a recent survey done by the National Institute of Nutrition, the total cholesterol level among urban men and women in the state has been observed as the second highest in the country.

Medical professionals point out that just change in food habits won’t bring down the cholesterol level.

Rekha Suhas, a consultant nutritionist says that an active schedule with at least an hour of workout is the way to go.

“Sitting is considered the new smoking. Even when at work, one should make it a point to move around,” she points out. 

For those who can‘t cook a proper breakfast, a healthy mix like a glass of milk, an apple or chunks of papaya, two eggs and nuts act as a filling and nutritious option. “This has the required carbohydrates, proteins and fibre required. For lunch one could have ‘khichdi’,” she adds. 

Many are baffled by the alarming cholesterol levels among youngsters ranging from early 20s to late 30s. Conscious changes have to be brought about in one’s eating habits, says Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, chief clinical dietician with Apollo Hospitals.

“Around 70 percent of people between 20 to 25 years of age, who come for their health checkup, have been observed with abnormal cholesterol levels. A lot of it is due to improper nutrition. Alcohol consumption and smoking also adds to this,” she says.

The city has its fair share of desktop professionals who work long hours or on graveyard shifts and down smoothies or cold coffees at breaks. Replacing these high-sugar foods with more healthier options like sprouts or a ‘peanut chikki’, or flavoured milk would be a better option,” she adds.

Waiting for your fitness alarm to tick? Dr Mohammed Rehan Sayeed, cardiothoracic surgeon with The Heart Centre, says, “Moving from three big meals to six small meals would bring in a big change.”

The more one exercises, the more the body is pushed to process food. Be it a 30-minute yoga session or a 20-minute session of crossfit exercises, the option can vary accordingly.

He adds, “Even when one eats a high-cholesterol diet, if one exercises well, food gets converted into good cholesterol.”


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