The Link Between Processed Food and Heart Problems

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In a recent warning, the Healthy Philippines Alliance (HPA) has highlighted the increased risk of developing multimorbidity, a combination of cancer and cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney problems, due to high consumption of ultra-processed food products. The HPA, a network of civil society organizations dedicated to preventing and controlling noncommunicable diseases, is urging the public to be mindful of their food choices in order to protect their heart health.

Ultra-processed food products encompass a wide range of items that are loaded with preservatives, emulsifiers, artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors. This includes commonly consumed foods like breakfast cereals, soft drinks, ice cream, hotdogs, corned beef, meatloaf, sausages, and instant noodles. While these products may be convenient and readily available, their impact on our health can be detrimental.

Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, former Health Secretary and convener of the HPA, emphasizes the importance of reducing our consumption of ultra-processed food products as a way to show extra love and care for our hearts. He suggests replacing these unhealthy choices with fresh fruits, vegetables, and home-cooked meals that offer greater nutritional value. By making these healthier choices, we can not only protect our hearts but also reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in the long run.

Furthermore, Dr. Galvez Tan highlights the economic burden associated with healthcare costs. A healthier diet can potentially save us from the financial strain of medical expenses. By adopting a balanced and nutritious diet, we can invest in our long-term well-being and alleviate the pressure on our healthcare system.

Looking at the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, it is evident that ischemic heart disease, which leads to heart attacks, has become the leading cause of death in the country. With over 65,000 cases reported from January to July 2023 alone, it is clear that action needs to be taken to address this alarming trend. By recognizing the link between ultra-processed foods and the prevalence of heart disease, we can make informed choices to safeguard our health.

It is important to note that the issue of high consumption of ultra-processed food products is not unique to the Philippines. This is a global concern that affects individuals worldwide. By contextualizing the problem, we can better understand the urgency of making healthier choices and promoting a shift towards a more balanced and nutritious diet.

In conclusion, the risk of developing multimorbidity, including cancer and cardiometabolic diseases, is heightened by the consumption of ultra-processed food products. The Healthy Philippines Alliance urges the public to prioritize their heart health by reducing their intake of these unhealthy options and opting for fresh fruits, vegetables, and home-cooked meals instead. By doing so, we not only protect our hearts but also alleviate the economic burden of healthcare costs. Let us take charge of our health and make informed choices for a healthier future.

Source: The Manila Times

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