A consensus panel convened by the national Institute of Health concluded recently that elevated blood cholesterol level is a major cause of coronary artery disease and that lowering of elevated blood cholesterol definitely reduces the risk of heart attack (CMD). According to the panel’s report each 1% reduction in blood cholesterol, lowers the rates of CHD by about 2%. Due to this reason this panel recommended that blood cholesterol levels should be measured in all patients seen by the physician the first time and should be checked periodically afterwards. If blood cholesterol levels are noted to be high, then special diets which contain less cholesterol are recommended. The foods which are rich in cholesterol e.g. beef, eggs, polyunsaturated and saturated fats should be avoided. Exercise is also recommended to lower blood cholesterol levels.However, a recent study conducted in The Netherlands found that people who regularly eat modest amount of fish were far less likely to die of heart disease than those who do not eat fish. The researchers recommended that it was justifiable to include one or two fish dishes a week for preventing heart disease. They found that those who averaged at least an ounce of fish daily were less than half as likely to die of heart disease as those who never consumed fish.High blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity and personality of an individual are among the conditions associated with heart problems. However, the researchers found that none of these could explain the link they found between fish eating and health.Similarly here in USA Dr. John Glomset of the University of Washington in his article recently published in a medical journal also emphasized that fish eating had a substantial protective effect. He postulated that key ingredient is the fish oil, which may make blood clot more slowly and reduce fat levels in the blood.Another study conducted at Oregon Health Science University found that supplements of fish oil were far more effective than vegetable oils in reducing abnormally high blood fat levels of people with a condition known as hypertriglyceridemia.The doctors however, concluded that substituting fish oil may still be considered experimental but advised people to substitute fish meat in their diets.At the end it is worth reminding to our readers that the food consumed in America contains much higher content of cholesterol as compared to the food which we eat in our countries. Secondly, people in America lead relatively sedentary life. Luxuries of automobiles and modern technology contributed to sedentary pattern of life in America. Thus it is essential that we care for our diets and avoid foods which prove injurious to our health in the long run. Be careful to keep your weight in normal range according to your age and height.

Satnam Singh Atwal

Article extracted from this publication >>  July 5, 1985