The key to a healthy heart 

17/01/2013 00:00 

As part of UCLH's work with its local communities, a 'cook and eat' session was held at the Bengali Workers Association (BWA) in Camden to promote heart health.

Sheena Visram, lead dietician at the Heart Hospital, led the discussion and the chef at the café in the BWA cooked lunch using Sheena's recommended substitutes. For example, Sheena recommended using vegetable, rapeseed or olive oil instead of ghee and turmeric or coriander instead of salt. She said: "The chef was really, really keen to get involved."

All those who attended were invited to see how the café's food with healthy substitutes compared to previous recipes. They were not disappointed. "The food is fantastic and very good for me," said one satisfied diner.

The Heart Hospital works closely with the British Heart Foundation to support and inform its patients and their information leaflets and recipes booklets were available at the event.

The session was organised by the UCLH membership development manager Ros Waring. She said: "It is very rewarding to work with different communities, who all make me feel so welcome. This session demonstrates how working with colleagues, communities and other organisations, can really make a difference."

The session was the second time the Heart Hospital had visited the BWA. Shyam Kolvekar, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, had previously spoken about heart surgery with specialist registrar Mr Jay Nandi translating the talk into Bengali. The talk focussed on saturated fat and members were warned that this is a key cause of blocked arteries and can lead to heart disease. Members were advised to eat everything in moderation and ingredients commonly used in cultural diets were emphasised. Symptoms of a heart attack were compared to indigestion and Mr Kolvekar explained the importance of recognising that even if pain comes on after a meal or exercise, and without relief, medical help should be sought. He talked about a stress ECHO as a key test for heart disease and angioplasty as a type of treatment.

Ros added: "It was great to be able to follow up Mr Kolvekar's talk with some really practical tips about how to help achieve a healthy heart."


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