In the last few columns, I have been discussing various aspects of healthy diet. Diet which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, diabetes type 2 and other chronic illnesses. This reminded me of an article I wrote in 2004 discussing the concept of polymeal.
My column was based on a study from Netherlands, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ DEC 18, 2004) titled “The Polymeal: a more natural, safer, and probably tastier (than the Polypill) strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 75 percent.” The Polypill was meant to be one pill containing six pharmacological components of commonly used drugs to prevent CVD.
The authors of the article say that pharmacological interventions are not the only option for preventing heart disease. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle can reduce cardiovascular disease. Certainly, they have a point. Many experts feel that the side-effects and cost of Polypill may be prohibitive. Polymeal may be a safer and tastier alternative.
They looked at the scientific literature and felt that the evidence based recipe for polymeal should include wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruits, vegetables, garlic, and almonds. This variety of food has been enjoyed by humankind for centuries.
They calculated that a daily consumption of 150 ml of wine, 114 grams fish four times a week, 100 grams of dark chocolate daily, 400 grams of fruit and vegetables daily, 2.7 grams of fresh garlic daily, and 68 grams of almonds daily could reduce CVD by more than 75 percent.
The authors’ review of literature showed that daily consumption of 150 ml of wine reduces CVD by 32 per cent.
Fish (114 gm) consumed four times a week reduces CVD by 14 per cent.
Dark chocolates (100 mg) reduce blood pressure and thus there is a reduction in CVD by 21 per cent.
A total of 400 gm of fruit and vegetables consumed daily produced a reduction in blood pressure similar to that observed with chocolate so it was assumed that this would produce reduction in CVD by 21 per cent.
The authors also found evidence to suggest beneficial effects of almonds and garlic on CVD. The authors believe that there are no serious side effects to polymeal except adverse odour related to garlic consumption. The beneficial effects of almonds have been discussed in my previous columns.
Studies of walnuts, almonds, pecans, peanuts, macadamias and pistachios show modest changes in blood lipid levels. Similar to other foods rich in unsaturated fat, nuts help maintain HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
Now you have a recipe for polymeal. It may be worth trying. The only thing you have to be careful about is garlic. If you want to make friends and influence people then make sure your garlic consumption is timed well.
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