As the world observes the World Heart Day 2014 on the last Sunday of September, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has pitched for a common solution — salt reduction to 5 grams per adult or just under a tea spoon and lower for children — to prevent heart diseases, blood pressure or strokes.
Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO regional director for South-East Asia, said in a message on the occasion of World Heart Day that about 2.5 million deaths could be prevented per year with this measure, which is simple, preventive and cost-effective.
Blaming the food industry for high salt intake, she said it needs to provide healthy food options by reformulating processed foods with reduced salt.
Founded in 2000, the World Heart Day aims at educating people all around the world about the dangers of heart disease and stroke, which kill about 17.3 million people every year.
Echoing similar views, India’s hyperactive medical doctor and also Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said particular days every year will be designated to create awareness about a particular disease. "A specific day in a year will be specially dedicated to create awareness about a particular disease.’
Earlier, Harsh Vardhan had announced that November 7 for National Cancer Awareness Day, apart from February 4 which is already marked as World Cancer Day. ‘We will use such occasions to educate citizens about the particular disease at the prevention and curative levels, the importance of timely check-ups and other matters.’
Harsh Vardhan also mentioned the governments’ plan to mark special days for diabetes, anaemia, hypertension, blindness, deafness, malnutrition, obesity, mental conditions and issues related to infant and maternal mortality. He said, "The government can lay out hospitals but it would never be possible for it to do enough without the help of developing health resources among common people in awareness generation for disease prevention as well as skills in first aid."
In addition, general advisory from heart specialists is that some natural foods will be enough to prevent heart disease like flaxseed, which even Mahatma Gandhi once recommended. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, prevents inflammation, protects heart and lowers cholesterol with its antioxidant properties.
Lemon or Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant to lower cholesterol and prevents clogging of the arteries. Other foods for lowering cholesterol are oatmeal, fish, walnuts, other nuts, olive oil and foods fortified with sterols that help block the absorption of cholesterol.