Do it for your child

Poor lifestyle choices are the norm among the new generation of young parents, says Dr Beni.
Poor lifestyle choices are the norm among the new generation of young parents, says Dr Beni.
Rozanna says a heart healthy diet is not rocket science.
Rozanna says a heart healthy diet is not rocket science.

Young parents should make healthy lifestyle choices, if not for themselves then at least for the sake of their offspring, writes Meera Murugesan

THE loss of a young parent has tragic consequences. For the child, it means losing the love, trust and a role model during his or her crucial, formative years. The impact on the livelihood of the family also cannot be overstated.

In Malaysia, heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults.YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

High cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease, affects eight million or 40 per cent of adults in Malaysia.

As parenting roles, expectations and demands grow against the backdrop of a fast-paced lifestyle, parents are becoming increasingly vulnerable to heart disease brought on by high cholesterol levels.

“Poor lifestyle choices are the norm among the new generation of young parents,” says National Heart Institute consultant cardiologist Dr Beni Rusani.

They include unhealthy eating habits, increased stress levels, sedentary lifestyles and smoking – all largely the result of hectic work schedules.

The onset of heart disease in Malaysia is the youngest compared to other countries in Southeast Asia.

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As the nature of high cholesterol is long-term, the longer you ignore it, the harder it becomes to fix the problem. And the harder the problem, the more expensive the cost of medicines and treatment.

Universiti Malaya Specialist Centre (UMSC) head of dietetic services Rozanna M Rosly says a heart healthy diet is “not rocket science”. Nor does it necessitate drastic changes, she adds.

Firstly, follow the Malaysian Healthy Plate recommendation. It is based on the concept of dividing a regular meal plate into three sections: the first quarter filled with protein, the second quarter with carbohydrates while the remaining half with fruit and vegetables.

“A staggering 95 per cent of Malaysian adults do not consume the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables,” stresses Rozanna.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Diets that are high in dietary fibres help reduce the risk of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), including high cholesterol.

Also consider foods that are enriched with plant sterols. Plant sterols have a similar structure to cholesterol and work to reduce cholesterol absorption in the bloodstream.

Plant sterols are added into a range of food products including fortified milks.

Research shows that a daily intake of 2-3g of plant sterols lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – or bad cholesterol – by about 10 per cent, even in people with high cholesterol.

Other tips include picking healthier options of our everyday Malaysian dishes; reducing intake of oily, deep-fried foods and those that are high in salt; and watching your calorie intake.

Rozanna says one should also reduce snacking or choose healthier snack options such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Keep processed meat and fast food to a minimum. Remember that excessive consumption of carbonated and sugary drinks adds to your calorie count which increases the risk of heart disease too.

meera@mediaprima.com.my

Source : https://www.nst.com.my/lifestyle/heal/2020/08/617616/do-it-your-child