Sweets and Hearts

Many heart patients are confused as to whether they are permitted to indulge in sweets (Indian sweets, desserts, ice cream, chocolates, etc.). Those who have the complication of diabetes along with the heart disease, of course, it is a “no”. Those who don’t have diabetes but only heart diseases and raised blood lipid levels could follow our advice.

To begin, for 3 months after bypass or and angioplasty, we would recommend the above sweets to be totally avoided.

The above sweets contain ghee, butter and cream of milk. Chocolates contain cocoa butter. Butter, ghee and cream are saturated fat of animal origin and all three contain cholesterol. The cocoa butter does not contain cholesterol but since it is a saturated fat that solidifies at room temperature it gets easily converted to cholesterol in the blood. After the 3 months we need to also see that the cholesterol level is below 180 and the triglyceride levels are below 170 too.

After these levels are reached, you may be permitted to consume a piece of sweet or a serving of dessert, once in a week. or at the most twice. The important rule is to see that if eaten there must be a gap of 3-4 days between each treat of sweet. You must never get into the habit of eating sweets on a daily basis, even for a few days. e.g. During a festival season, or marriage celebration or holiday you may feel, “for one week I will indulge daily, after that I will be very strict”. This could do irreparable damage. Never treat yourself on a daily basis even with small portions.

If you are a heart patient with a sweet tooth make wiser choices for a daily basis. Fruits are the best choice and if you chose the ones with more edible skin or fiber it serves to satisfy your sweet tooth and the fiber helps to break down cholesterol and triglyceride which clog your arteries. Apple, orange, musambi, pear, pomegranate, guava, fresh figs, apricots, plums, etc. are excellent choices. Papaya, chickoo, mango, banana are very pulpy with very poor fiber content so they are not as good as the above.

Skimmed milk with a little sugar and flavour, skimmed milk curds with a little sugar, honey or even fruit added to it is also a good option. Skimmed milk made into custard with custard powder and little sugar is also a safe choice.

Those of you who have already had a surgery must try to prevent the recurrence of a block as another surgery is a risk. Those who only have high lipid levels, do all you can to control and reduce them and avoid a surgery all together.

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