It’s not just an apple a day which can keep your heart away from cardiologist. It is the need to have a rainbow diet, which has a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables which help reduce the risk of heart disease and the overall risk of dying. The new US Dietary Guidelines of Americans advocate choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables daily along with a number of whole grains.
Rainbow in your diet plan
In fact, the new health mantra is to have “the rainbow in your plate” five different co loured fruits and vegetables at least five times a day.” says Dr K Srinath Reddy Professer, Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences. “The variety is as important as the frequency. According to the WHO recommendation on Diet, Nutrition and Prevention of Chronic Diseases, the minimum daily requirement is 400-500 gm of fruits and vegetable.” he says.
The cost factor
However, the per capita consumption of fruits and vegetables in India remains as low as 133 gm/day. The main inhibiting factor is their high cost, but the research has shown that inexpensive, seasonal fruits and vegetables too are equally important. Agrees Dr Rajeev Passi, a cardiologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi. “Generally people do not go in for fruits and vegetables because of low socioeconomic conditions.” he says. “Most people, even from high income groups, start this sort of diet once their bad cholesterol becomes high or the incidence of coronary artery disease starts.”
However, one must realize the early they start a regular diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, the better it is, he says, noting it is now proved that these things protect against multiple diseases like cancer heart attack, blood pressure etc.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota recently conducted a study to look at the association between whole grain, refined grain, fruit and vegetable consumption with the risks of heart disease and stroke.
For this study researchers used information from another study on artherosclerosis. The research included data on more than 15000 people. The participants filled out a food frequency questionnaire to determine dietary intake. The study included information on the participants for move than 11 years.
The researchers reported that those who ate whole grains had a lower risk of death and also a lower risk of heart diseases. They also found this positive association with fruit and vegetable intake. As protective medicine Says Dr Reddy “Fruits and vegetables fight a number of health ailments. It is not antibiotics, but fruits and vegetables which offer the test protective medicine if one has to stay healthy and fit. After the green and white revolution, what we need is a ‘rainbow’ revolution, so that fruits and vegetables are produced in abundance, preserved and distributed widely to be consumed by everybody, he says.