Monday, 29 August 2011

Be a vegetarian, keep cancer at bay 
HYDERABAD: Let your plate be colourful. Fill it with fruits and vegetables. This piece of advice comes from Dr Kalpagam Polasa, head of the Food and Drug Toxicology Research Centre, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, who added that fruits and vegetables could be the protection needed against cardiovascular diseases and several types of cancers.

Dr Polasa gave a talk on 'Nutrition - the role of vegetables and fruits in chronic disorders' during the golden jubilee regional symposium-2011 of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (India) in Hyderabad on Friday.
While fruits and vegetables are a part of the weight loss diets, they are also rich source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. "Five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day per person are highly desirable," said Dr Polasa who has 85 papers published in national and international journals to his credit.

"People go to doctors for a find-and-fix cure. More importantly one should concentrate on sticking to healthy diet to prevent diseases," she said, saying that 500 gms of fruits are a must for consumption everyday, while fats, oils and sweets should be avoided.

Dr Polasa said there were epidemiological data supporting the association between the high intake of vegetables and fruits and low risk of chronic diseases.

A diet rich in vegetables and fruits not only may provide protection against cardiovascular diseases and several common cancers but also against Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, immunological disorders and obesity. Experiments conducted at the National Institute of Nutrition also point to the fact.

Fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, citrus fruits, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, green leafy vegetables, onions and strawberries are all recommended as part of a healthy diet.

It was pointed out that out of the 156 dietary studies reported, 82 per cent demonstrated that the consumption of fruits and vegetables, provided significant protection against cancer. Fruits and vegetables are effective against epithelial cancers such as cancer of lung, cervix, esophagus, stomach, colon and pancreas.

Dr Kalpagam Polasa also pointed out that though nutraceuticals or food supplements are available in the market, one should ideally go in for consumption of fresh produce.

A paper submitted at the seminar by Prof P Krishnam Raju, cardiologist, Chairman, Care Foundation, Care Hospitals, Hyderabad also brought out interesting facts pertaining to the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases among the rural population. It was found that cardiovascular diseases were the leading causes of mortality -- 34 per cent of all deaths -- in Andhra Pradesh, where a comprehensive survey was conducted during field trips. The survey revealed that risk factors and cardiovascular death rates were surprisingly high in villages, a discovery with important public health ramifications.

In his keynote address, NIN director Dr B Sesikeran said the complications of diabetes, heart diseases and lipid disorder were difficult to treat. "Primary prevention by maintenance of the energy balance and adequate physical activity is a much better option," he said.

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