Dr Vash Mungal-Singh, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSF), this week officially kicked off National Heart Awareness Month with the launch of what the HSF says is another potent tool in its fight to stem the tide of cardiovascular disease, which currently claims about 200 lives in South Africa every day.
Cooking from the heart – that will be distributed free to the public thanks to Pharma Dynamics, the leading provider of cardiovascular medication in the country. And there are already plans for hospitals and public institutions across South Africa to adopt its recipes and “healthier eating” guidelines.
The new "tool" is a recipe book – titled
Cooking from the heart is unique among healthy-eating cookbooks because it contains popular and budget-friendly recipes submitted by ordinary South Africans that have been adapted by experts to make them healthier, by cutting fat, salt and sugar while boosting nutritional value in line with the HSF’s healthy eating guidelines.
First of its kind
Mungal-Singh says that this new initiative is the first of its kind.
"We’ve launched many initiatives over the years but never one quite like Cooking from the heart. It offers the public a practical resource to tackle non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and stroke, which are closely linked to poor diet. We hope that everyday cooks will see how easy it is it to make favourites like potato salad or beef stew healthier.
"CVD is a growing problem in South Africa as the intake of saturated and trans-fats, salt and sugar is on the increase. By 2030, the United Nations predicts that deaths of South Africans aged from 35 to 64 will have skyrocketed by 40%. Nutrition is a very important part of managing and preventing heart disease and stroke. There is a misconception that a ‘healthy diet’ is expensive, impractical or unappetising – Cooking from the heart will dispel that myth once and for all."
Mariska Fouche, Public Affairs Manager at Pharma Dynamics, says that the book will be available free of charge to members of the public who attend free screenings for heart disease risk factors at shopping centres across the country during Heart Awareness Month.
"Screenings will include blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose testing and vital information about cardiovascular disease."
Fouche says that not only will Cooking from the heart help home cooks to produce more nutritious meals, it is also an excellent practical resource for healthcare practitioners (HCPs).
"Research conducted by the Medical Research Council and the Chronic Diseases Initiative in Africa with focus groups across the country found that many CVD patients received limited advice about adapting their diets from doctors at the time of their diagnosis. They struggled to incorporate the little advice they did get into their everyday lives, meaning that they didn’t make meaningful changes to their diets, which had a negative impact on their management of their condition.
"HCPs don’t necessarily have the tools to teach people about healthier eating habits. This book is a vital part of the HSF’s preventative ‘toolkit’ to help tackle the looming heart disease and stroke epidemic in South Africa," she says.
Plans are underway for public hospitals to serve patients meals based on the nutritional guidelines and recipes contained in the book, and it is hoped that this will foster stronger awareness of the link between diet and CVD.
Cooking from the heart has also caught the attention of Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who said: "The Department of Health commends the HSF and Pharma Dynamics for taking this bold and practical step against heart disease and stroke. The idea of researching and publishing recipes that are both economical and culturally appropriate is an excellent way of creating awareness of the need for healthier eating and is a concrete means for people in all communities to improve their overall health."
Cooking from the Heart is available free of charge to all members of the public. To get a copy, members of the public can:
For a complete list of free screening dates and locations, please contact Amina Habib at the Heart and Stroke Foundation on 021 403 6450, or visit www.heartfoundation.co.za.
Pharma Dynamics press release
- (Health24, September 2012)
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