LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
September is the month for heart and stroke awareness
September is earmarked by the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) every year to encourage South Africans to re-evaluate their heart health and to start making healthier choices to eat better, stop smoking, and get more active. According to HSFSA, 1 in every 5 deaths in South Africa is caused by heart diseases and strokes, totaling nearly 82 000 lives lost annually.
The relationship between dietary cholesterol intake and heart disease risk has been hotly debated for
several decades, though a big number of studies as well as recommendations put forth by the 2015 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee have all indicated that evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. The 2015 Guidelines for Americans eliminated dietary cholesterol limits and recommended regular consumption of eggs among lean protein choices. It also builds on a 2015 metaanalysis that demonstrated dietary cholesterol had no association with cardiovascular disease.
On the heels of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that placed no daily limit on dietary cholesterol, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows eggs are associated with a 12 percent reduction in the risk of stroke. By conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies between 1982 and 2015, the study analysed the relationships between consumption of eggs and coronary heart disease (276 000 subjects) and stroke (308 000 subjects).
Overall, the results of this meta-analysis do not support an increased risk of coronary heart disease based on daily egg consumption and indicate that intake of up to 1 egg daily may be associated with a statistically significant 12% reduction in stroke risk compared to those who ate less than 2 eggs per week.
A heart-healthy dietary pattern is based largely on minimally processed foods and includes plenty of vegetables and fruit, some whole grains in place of refined grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and other sources of healthy unsaturated fats such as oily fish. Nonprocessed lean meat, poultry, eggs and low-fat dairy products are also part of a heart healthy eating plan.
Eggs are listed along with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, and nuts as “nutrientdense foods” by the US Dietary Advisory Committee.¡