Print Edition - 2014-09-30  |  Editorial

Unhappy meals

  • This Dashain, moderate consumption of meat and alcohol is recommended
Unhappy meals

Sep 29, 2014-Dashain is in the air, and so is the rancid stench of the thousands of he-goats being trundled in to the Valley. Dashain festival, a time of holidaying and feasting, is synonymous with the mass consumption of red meat, especially mutton. Last year, the Valley alone consumed 45,000 goats and over 1 million kg of meat during a 15-day eating binge. This Dashain season, 10-12 trucks carrying 280-300 goats each, are entering Kathmandu Valley on a daily basis. This mass consumption of red meat, which also includes buffalo meat, is often supplemented by unhealthy amounts of alcohol and a lack of carbohydrates and fibres to balance out the diet. Thousands then stay put, playing cards in a sedentary lifestyle that for some stretches right up to Purnima, the last day of Dashain. This is a dangerous combination, especially for a population that is already at serious risk of hypertension.

One-fourth of the Kathmandu Valley’s residents are at serious risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure, according to a recent study by Dr Om Murti Anil, cardiologist at the Manmohan Cardiothoracic Vascular and Transplant Centre (MCVTC) of the Institute of Medicine. Extrapolating data from a survey conducted among over 5,000 participants, the study also found that 44 percent of people had pre-hypertension and 55 percent of people under 40 years of age had high cholesterol. Hypertension and high cholesterol put people at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes. These conditions, in turn, have been linked to over-consumption of meat, especially the red kind, which contains higher amounts of sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. Alcohol and a lack of exercise, both of which are common during Dashain, further increase the risk factor. It is no surprise then that the Valley’s hospitals report a spike in the number of patients with non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and heart conditions, after the end of the festival.

This Dashain, amid all the celebration and fanfare, it would wise to remember that moderation is key. Binge eating and drinking only contribute to long term negative effects like hypertension and high cholesterol, along with the often immediate aftermath of indigestion, gastrointestinal problems, nausea, and generally feeling unwell. It is especially important to limit alcohol consumption, which has far more dangerous side-effects, not to mention the subsequent hangover. The judicious intake of meat and alcohol must also be supplemented by fruits, grains, and greens. The holidays can inspire indolence and a desire to simply laze away at home, but given the diet that is common during Dashain, a decent exercise regimen would help; it can be as easy as taking a brisk half-an-hour walk around the neighbourhood. It must be remembered that merriment does not have to come at the cost of your health.

 

Published: 30-09-2014 09:41

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