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Enjoy good food and keep heart healthy too: Tips on how to be heart smart

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos love to eat. Backing this up is a recent survey conducted by global market research firm YouGov, which concluded that 97% of Filipinos love eating Filipino food after polling 25,000 people from 24 countries.

It is said that many Filipinos are adventurous, leaving them trying all sorts of cuisines. Like many, Filipinos also love their comfort food, and most of these are Filipino food. 

The world is just starting to get to know Filipino cuisine, which is a result of different cultural influences and ingredients of neighboring Southeast Asian nations, not to mention the cooking styles from 22 regions scattered across more than 7,000 islands.

Filipino cuisine is characterized by its unique balance of salty-sour-sweet. What makes Filipino cuisine deadly in the eyes of food and health experts is that it is replete with “fried food, a wide variety of rich and savory sauces, and unlimited servings of piping hot white rice,” said the socio-cultural research firm Fourth Wall.

Too much of a good thing, as a famous adage said, can be bad, and when the rich Filipino food is combined with a sedentary lifestyle and unshakable habits, like smoking and drinking, these could only lead to some serious health problems.

Of these health problems — obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, hypertension — it is heart disease that Filipinos should be most concerned about.

“In 2022, heart disease, yet again, ranked as the leading cause of death in Filipinos. The Philippine Statistics Authority, which conducted the study, revealed that ischemic heart diseases, or heart diseases due to reduced blood flow, were responsible for 18.4% (103,628 deaths) of the total deaths in 2022,” said Noel L. Rosas, MD, a cardiologist from Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed).

Dr. Rosas reminded Filipinos that simple lifestyle changes can reduce the risk for heart disease. Here are some suggestions or tips on how to stay heart smart:

MakatiMed also suggests three ways to eat Filipino food but still keep one healthy:

“The Philippines is absolutely teeming with highly nutritious fruits and vegetables that are known to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Rosas. 

Kangkong (w