It’s World Heart Day and as parents, we need to take this opportunity to focus on the health and well-being of our kids. Taking a look at our Indian pantry and exploring how we can incorporate heart-healthy ingredients into our daily meals can go a long way in making sure our kids are healthy adults tomorrow.
Heart-healthy Indian food doesn’t have to be boring! Incorporating spices that are good for the heart into daily meals, replacing bad fats with good ones, and knowing when it’s time to visit the paediatrician can all help us make sure our kids stay healthy. Read further to learn more about fats and heart-healthy spices and the best heart-healthy food for kids.
Understanding Heart-Healthy Eating for Kids
According to the Indian Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases account for more than 25% of total deaths in India, making it a major public health issue. By incorporating heart-healthy eating habits into our children’s lives from a young age, we can help reduce their risk of developing heart disease later in life.
Heart-healthy eating is about choosing nutrient-rich foods that support heart health. It involves consuming a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. By focusing on these foods, we can provide our children with the necessary nutrients to support their growing bodies and maintain a healthy heart.
It’s important to remember that eating heart-healthy is not just for the sick, but to ensure that we don’t get sick in the first place. By teaching our children about the importance of a healthy diet and encouraging them to make nutritious choices, we are setting them up for a lifetime of good health.
In the following sections, we will explore the different types of fats and their impact on heart health, discover heart-healthy Indian spices, and find out about five delicious and nutritious foods that your kids will love.
The Good and Bad Types of Fats for Children’s Health
When it comes to the health of our children’s hearts, understanding the different types of fats is essential. There are good fats and bad fats, and knowing the difference can help us make healthier choices for our kids.
Saturated fat is a type of fat that is solid at room temperature and is typically found in animal products such as meat and dairy. This fat can increase cholesterol levels and raise the risk of heart disease. It’s important to limit the consumption of foods high in saturated fat, such as butter, fatty cuts of meat, and full-fat dairy products.
Trans fat is another type of unhealthy fat that is created through a process called hydrogenation. It is commonly found in processed and packaged foods such as biscuits, cakes, and fried foods. Trans fats can raise LDL cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. It’s best to avoid or minimise the consumption of foods containing trans fats.
On the other hand, unsaturated fat is considered a healthier option for the heart. This type of fat is typically found in plant-based oils, such as olive oil and avocado oil, as well as nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon. Unsaturated fats can help lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Incorporating these healthier fats into our children’s diet is beneficial for their heart health.
To promote healthier eating, it’s important to limit the intake of saturated and trans fats and opt for healthier alternatives. Instead of frying foods, try baking, grilling, or steaming them. Choose lean cuts of meat and poultry, and opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Replace butter and margarine with heart-healthy oils, such as olive oil or avocado oil.
By making these small adjustments, we can ensure that our children are consuming healthier fats and reducing their risk of heart disease. On World Heart Day 2023, let’s make a commitment to prioritise our children’s heart health and make positive changes to their diet.
5 Heart-Healthy Indian Spices for Your Child’s Diet
Indian cuisine is known for its rich and flavoursome spices, and many of these spices have heart-healthy properties that can benefit your child’s diet. Here are five heart-healthy Indian spices that you can incorporate into your child’s meals:
- Turmeric: This bright yellow spice contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease. Add a pinch of turmeric to dishes like curries, soups, and roasted vegetables.
- Cinnamon: Not only does cinnamon add a sweet and warming flavour to dishes, but it also has heart-healthy benefits. It can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Sprinkle cinnamon on porridge, yogurt, or baked goods for a delicious and healthy twist.
- Ginger: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can support heart health by reducing inflammation and improving blood circulation. Add freshly grated ginger to stir-fries, smoothies, or even brewed in a soothing cup of tea.
- Cardamom: This aromatic spice is not only delicious but also beneficial for the heart. Cardamom can help lower blood pressure and improve digestion. Use it to flavour desserts, rice dishes, or even in a homemade chai tea.
- Fenugreek (Methi): Fenugreek seeds are rich in fibre and have been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Add a sprinkle of fenugreek to lentil soups, stews, or even to dough when making bread.
By incorporating these heart-healthy Indian spices into your child’s diet, you can not only add delicious flavours but also support their heart health.
5 Heart-Healthy Foods Your Kids Will Love
Are you looking for delicious and nutritious foods that your kids will actually enjoy? Look no further! We’ve compiled a list of 5 heart-healthy foods that your little ones will love. These foods are not only packed with essential nutrients, but they also taste great.
- Berries: Whether it’s strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, kids love these sweet and juicy fruits. Berries are rich in antioxidants and can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Add them to yoghurt, cereal, or make a refreshing smoothie for a tasty and heart-healthy treat.
- Oats: Start your child’s day with a bowl of heart-healthy oats. Oats are high in fibre and can help lower cholesterol levels. Make porridge with milk or water and top it with their favourite fruits and a sprinkle of cinnamon for added flavour.
- Fish: Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. Try grilling or baking fish with some lemon and herbs for a delicious and nutritious meal that your kids will enjoy.
- Spinach: Sneak some spinach into your child’s diet by adding it to smoothies, soups, or even pasta dishes. Spinach is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support heart health. Your kids won’t even know it’s there!
- Dark Chocolate: Yes, you read that right! Dark chocolate in moderation can be a heart-healthy treat for kids. Look for dark chocolate with a high cocoa content and enjoy it as an occasional treat. It contains antioxidants that can help improve heart health.
By incorporating these 5 heart-healthy foods into your child’s diet, you can ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need for a healthy heart. And the best part? Your kids will love them!
When to See a Paediatrician for Your Child’s Heart Health
As busy mums, it’s important for us to stay informed about our children’s health, including their heart health. Whilst making healthy food choices is a great start, there may be times when it’s necessary to consult a paediatrician for your child’s heart health. Here are a few signs to look out for:
- Family history: If there is a history of heart disease or other cardiovascular conditions in your family, it’s a good idea to consult a paediatrician to assess your child’s risk and discuss preventive measures.
- Unexplained symptoms: If your child experiences unexplained chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or fainting episodes, it’s important to seek medical attention. These symptoms could be a sign of an underlying heart condition.
- Abnormal heart sounds: If you notice any unusual sounds, such as a rapid or irregular heartbeat, it’s best to consult a paediatrician. They can assess your child’s heart rhythm and determine if any further evaluation or treatment is necessary.
- Developmental delays: Children with certain developmental delays, such as Down syndrome, may have an increased risk of heart defects. Regular check-ups with a paediatrician can help identify and monitor any potential heart issues.
Remember, as mums, we know our children best. If you have any concerns about your child’s heart health, it’s always better to seek professional advice and ensure their wellbeing.
Our paediatrician clinic is located in Prabha Devi, but we also have clients who are residing in Dadar, Worli, Lower Parel, and other areas of South Mumbai. Here is the link to find us, and we encourage you to book an appointment before visiting.