Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Health & Wellness

Prevention with Lifestyle Intervention – PART II

Dr. M. P. Ravindra Nathan

By M. P. Ravindra Nathan,

The importance of diet

Modern research tells us that nutrition is a critical component to human health. With a healthy diet, we can stem the current epidemic of heart disease, still the No. 1 killer in the western world. Also, we can reverse some of the damages that have occurred in the heart and blood vessels. “Think of coronary heart disease as a plumbing problem,” says Dr. Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, executive director of the Interventional Cardiovascular Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “An adult human has been estimated to have some 60,000 miles (96,560 km) of arteries, capillaries and veins with a total surface area of some 800–1000 m2 (an area greater than three tennis courts!)” Even if the arteries make up only half of this distance, there are enough ‘pipes’ in the body that are vulnerable to developing plumbing problems. Translated into medical lingo, these are plaques that build up inside the coronary arteries and clog up the lumen causing a blockage. Same thing happens in other vascular areas, including the brain leading to strokes.

Results from an important recent study indicate that nearly one half of all “cardiometabolic deaths” (318,656 of 702,308 such deaths) in the United States "were associated with suboptimal intake" of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids and also an excess of sugar-sweetened beverages. Processed meat is another culprit. Cardiometabolic death refers to death from heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The first step in prevention is to adopt a healthful, "cleaner" eating strategy that will go a long way in preventing or delaying the above diseases, including some types of cancer. There are so many fad diets like detox diet, paleo diet, slim fast diet, etc. people follow but please, we don’t need to go to any extremes to live healthy. The western diet consists of a lot of carbs with heavy reliance on refined sugar and sweets along with processed foods and meats containing saturated fats, all laden with a lot of salt. This is a standing invitation for major diseases. A common sense approach consisting of whole grain, wheat products, along with a lot of colored vegetables and fruits, nuts of all kinds and going easy on sugar and salt should dominate your daily diet — in other words, primarily a plant-based diet. Fish, especially baked containing a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids is good for the body. For those hardcore non-vegetarians, you may indulge in meats and meat products to a small extent only. “Everything in moderation,” as your grandma would say.

Here are some dietary tips that will help you to maintain good health for a long time.

  1. Choose foods with a wide variety of colors and textures, in their most natural forms. All diet gurus promote consumption of a variety of nuts (walnuts especially), seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables. The American Heart Association recommends that at least one half of the plate be filled with fruits and a variety of vegetables of all colors.

  2. Avoid or minimize processed foods like such as packaged snacks, smoked meats, white flour, and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages as much as possible. Sorry, ‘coke and chips’ is not the answer for your cravings.

  3. Stick to your diet on a long-term basis. It should be a balanced diet with a healthy proportion of all the ingredients like carbs, proteins and healthy fats. Also, maintain your normal weight -- obesity and overweight are high risk for all diseases, you already know that. Cut down the portion size and take diets that are effective for weight loss and weight maintenance. And don’t aim for rapid weight loss.

  4. Consume healthy oils for heart health: Fish oils can prevent further illness in those with a history of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that fish that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, etc. are the best. Otherwise, you may take fish oil supplements. Other beneficial oils for cooking, etc., include olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil and chia seed oil.

  5. Forego red meat and live longer. Although red meat is a principal source of protein and fat, research shows that consumption of red meat – beef, pork, lamb, weal, dark portion of chicken and all kinds meats from hunting – is linked to increased risks for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, all of which decrease longevity.

  6. Consume fermented foods/probiotics and fiber for gastrointestinal and overall health. Probiotics contain microorganisms that confer gastrointestinal benefit. They are commonly found in yogurt, milk and soymilk, kefir, dark chocolate, sauerkraut and unpasteurized fermented foods and drinks. They can also be taken in supplement form.

Ref: The 6 Dietary Tips Patients Need to Hear From Their Clinicians: Naveed SalehMD,MS

M.P. Ravindra Nathan, M.D., is a cardiologist and Emeritus Editor of AAPI Journal. His book “Stories from My Heart” was recently released. ( or 

Eye Care


Once in a Life Time Spectacle!

How to View the 2017 Solar Eclipse Safely AUG. 21

One of the most spectacular displays of our solar system and a reminder of our small existence will be experienced this month

I would like to credit the NASA for information I am sharing with you so you can enjoy this once in a lifetime event, albeit safely.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon blocks any part of the Sun. On Monday, Aug. 21, a solar eclipse will be visible (weather permitting) across all of North America. The whole continent will experience a partial eclipse lasting 2 to 3 hours. Halfway through the event, anyone within a roughly 70-mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina ( will experience a brief total eclipse, when the Moon completely blocks the Sun’s bright face for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds, turning day into night and making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona — the Sun’s outer atmosphere — one of nature’s most awesome sights. Bright stars and planets will become visible as well.

Looking directly at the Sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (totality”), when the Moon entirely blocks the Sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality (

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses” (example shown at right) or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even dark ones, are not safe for looking at the Sun. To date, four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.

If you are within the path of totality (, remove your solar filter only when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright Sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed Sun is pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. With your back to the Sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the Sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse.

A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime. More information is available at

Arun C. Gulani, M.D., M.S., is director and chief surgeon of Gulani Vision Institute in Jacksonville. He can be reached at or visit

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