It’s the month of love when everyone will be going the extra mile to show their affection for that special someone in their lives… But how about showing YOUR HEART some love? Bloem-based entrepreneur Glisson Itebogeng (33) knows all too well the value of a healthy heart.
In 2016 he was diagnosed with an arrhythmia. “In 2014, 2015 at that particular time, it was an issue where one of my valves could not close properly. Doctors noticed on an EKG that my heartbeat was irregular…so it’s a condition been there.”
Keeping V-day hearts healthy and happy
Good food and no stress from a man are top of mind for Kimberley-based single lady, Mase Mookapilo (31) who says she’ll be keeping her Valentine’s Day heart healthy this year by not, “Stressing about someone’s dusty a** son.”
While Kutlwano Mongale (27), also from Kimberley, will be spreading the love with a group of friends to celebrate “Galentine’s”.
“It’s business as usual but this year it’s ‘Galentine’s day’, we celebrating ourselves as friends cause it’s not just about receiving gifts from your significant other,” she says.
Itebogeng, meanwhile, will celebrate the day with a run and a healthy romantic dinner with his partner.
“My partner and I have started running in the mornings. I had to change my diet because the [heart] issue is coupled with hypertension.”
Healthy heart, peace of mind
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Africa, is the unhealthiest population in the world, with those between the ages of 30 and 70 facing a 26% probability of suffering and dying from heart disease, diabetes and other lifestyle disorders.
Dangerously high blood pressure or hypertension is a silent killer and can kill if left untreated, warns PharmaDynamics spokesperson Nicole Jennings.
Jennings also cites a report by Unilever, titled, the Foods Refreshment Report, which revealed that most South Africans eat mainly starch and meat, with very little in the form of vegetables.
On average, meat is eaten four times a week, but many eat it almost every day. A diet high in red meat significantly increases the risk of cancer and heart disease. When categorising what is eaten every day into percentages, the national plate consists of 41% starch, 26% meat, 13% vegetables, 9% oils, 8% dairy and 3% legumes.
Snacking on soft drinks and other processed food that often contain sugar and trans-fat is another bad habit South Africans indulge in.
“We have veered far off the recommended nutritional plate, which is shortening the lives of many South Africans,” she warns. “We really are in a nutrition crisis, but there’s still time to turn things around.”
She says we need to view fruit and vegetables, not only as sustenance but as absolutely essential to our body’s need for healthy functioning.
“As a nation, we need to be more aware of what we put into our bodies. It can either harm or benefit us.”
Try out this sensational snoek
Thankfully, there is a growing movement to integrate food and nutrition into healthcare to help prevent and manage diet-related diseases.
One such diet is the “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” (DASH) nutrition plan, which is considered by healthcare providers the world over as the golden standard in maintaining healthy blood pressure and staving off a host of other debilitating disorders, including heart disease.
It consists mainly of a Mediterranean diet where the intake of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains, is encouraged, while processed foods that are higher in sodium (salt) and added sugars are discouraged. Moderate portions of lean meats, such as poultry and fish can be eaten four to five times a week, but red meat should only be enjoyed on occasion.
This recipe for a tangy snoek is delicious with a touch of sweetness and a mild spice like cumin. Try it in the oven or braai it outside.
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- ¼ cup (60 ml) chutney
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) apricot jam
- 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) sunflower oil
- ½ tsp (2,5 ml) salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1,2 kg whole fresh snoek or line fish, head removed and butterflied
1. Mix chutney, jam, cumin, lemon juice, half the oil and salt. Season with pepper.
2. Brush a braai grid with the rest of the oil and place fish, with the skin side on the grid.
3. Brush fish with jam mixture. Braai for 15-20 minutes over medium coals with the skin side down.
4. Turnover and brown for a few minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Take care not to burn or overcook the fish.
5. Serve with baked sweet potato and a green salad.