Health statistics show that about 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes occur daily in South Africa.  This means that 10 people will suffer a stroke and five people will have a heart attack every hour.   According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, a staggering 80% of cardiovascular diseases could be prevented through modified behaviour – like reducing salt.

In the past, hypertension was associated with rich, developed countries or with wealthier sectors of society.  Today, high blood pressure is a condition that affects the majority of society, rich or poor, rural or urban.  Almost everyone we know will tell you their mom, dad, uncle or aunt is suffering from “high-high”.   Food is our life, it is the human body’s fuel, however, everything in life has to be moderated.  Too much of a good thing is bad and too little is bad altogether.   It is therefore important to obtain as much information as possible and be well informed in order to make better choices…..

A brand new edition of Pharma Dynamics’ flagship recipe book, Cooking from the Heart, in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSF), was launched last week to mark National Nutrition Week (9 – 15 October), as a way to reduce the public’s risk of heart disease and stroke by adopting a healthy eating plan.

 

With more than 61% of South African adults overweight who are likely to be among the 6.3 million suffering from hypertension – a precursor for heart disease and other forms of serious illness – it has never been more important for South Africans to make healthy eating part of a healthy lifestyle.

 

Mariska van Aswegen, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics says the new cookbook comprises of more than 30 flavourful, no-fuss, heart-smart breakfast, lunch and snack recipe options to suit everyone’s pocket.

 

“The new edition of Cooking from the Heart complements the first, which included more than 70 traditional South African supper, side dish, baking and dessert recipes – all adapted by HSF dieticians to be more heart-friendly. As was the case with the launch of the initial book, the new edition will also be made available to the public for free in both print and digital formats.

 

“GPs and pharmacies across the country will act as the main distribution points for the printed version of which there are only a limited number of copies, but various electronic formats of the recipe book have also been created making it ideal for tablets and mobile phones, which can be downloaded via www.cookingfromtheheart.co.za or www.heartrecipes.mobi,” she says.

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All the new Cooking from the Heart recipes were carefully selected to suit SA’s diverse palate and modified to fit a diet that is lower in unhealthy fats, salt and sugar without compromising on taste. The recipes were all developed by well-known food consultant, Heleen Meyer, alongside a team of dieticians from the HSF.

 

The cookbook also offers practical ‘swap it’ tips such as replacing salt with fresh herbs and spices  or lemon for flavour and provides useful health advice including how to eat more fibre, interpret food labels correctly, pack healthier lunchboxes and cook more healthily.

 

As the leading supplier of cardiovascular medicine in the country, Pharma Dynamics has for the last few years been at the forefront of developing and implementing preventative strategies to curb the growing incidence of chronic diseases of lifestyle, specifically in relation to heart disease and stroke – claiming an alarming 230 lives a day in our country.

 

Van Aswegen goes on to highlight the disparity between preventative and curative measures currently being adopted in SA.

 

“If one considers the overwhelming 74% being spent on curative treatments annually, compared to the limited amount of healthcare spend going to preventative measures, there is a serious wellness case for healthy living. Chronic diseases account for up to 40% of adult deaths in South Africa, where most people have at least one modifiable risk factor for chronic disease. If left untreated, chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension can bring on potentially fatal conditions at any time. But the paradox of the chronic disease burden is that it can be lifted if we tackle obesity – of which nutrition plays a vital role,” emphasises van Aswegen.

 

Dr Vash Mungal-Singh, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation echoes van Aswegen’s remarks and says in South Africa we are consuming excessive amounts of highly processed foods, which has led to us being the third most obese nation in the world.

 

“Many South Africans are eating too much and highly processed foods are among the culprits. These foods are usually energy-dense, high in unhealthy fats, sugar and salt. As things stand, the country’s health statistics are shocking, yet people continue to live an unhealthy lifestyle. We all know the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ and it’s often a challenge to choose food that is good for you and tasty at the same time, but eating right for heart health is good for everyone. Cooking from the Heart has been created specifically for South Africans to make eating right less of a chore. It serves as a practical tool to guide the nation to healthier cooking and eating.

 

“We want to help families eat nutritious meals that are full of flavour, from breakfasts and lunches to on-the-go snacks and suppers with a difference. Signature dishes in the new edition include creamy oats with cinnamon and fruit, apple and banana muffins, spicy pan breakfast and crispy chicken strips, which really makes Cooking from the Heart, the ultimate heart-healthy cookbook, says Dr Mungal-Singh.

 

I went through the cookbook and found it quiet informative.  The content encourages consumers to be informed, to read labels and it also helps in how to read and understand the labels.  There’s useful information on salt and how one can monitor their intake.  One of the recipes featured is the Homemade Ice Tea below, see featured image.  The recipe does not have sugar but it tastes good.  Do try it and get the rest of the recipes from the site: http://www.cookingfromtheheart.co.za/

 

Homemade Ice Tea

This tea is very refreshing and a healthier alternative to fizzy, sugary cold drinks. Keep a jug of this ice tea in the fridge in summer.

Serves: 6 (2 litres)

Ready in 2 hours 30 minutes**

 

8 rooibos tea bags

1 cinnamon stick

4 whole cloves

6 thin slices ginger

4 cups (1 litre) boiling water

4 cups (1 litre) 100 % grape, apple or berry juice, chilled

Lemon juice to taste

ice cubes, mint leaves, fresh fruit or lemon slices to serve

 

Method:

 

  1. Place tea bags, spices and ginger in a large glass jug and pour over boiling water.  Stir well and allow to cool for about 2 hours.  Remove tea bags, ginger and spices.
  2. Add juice to the tea and season with lemon juice to taste.
  3. Serve ice cold with ice and your choice of mint leaves, fruit and lemon.

 

Tips:

 

  • When buying fruit juice, remember to read the label and only buy pure or 100 % fruit juice.
  • In summer when it’s hot outside, freeze this ice tea in ice cube or ice lolly trays for the kids. This is a good alternative to ice-cream.

 

**Includes cooling time

 

 

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