Channel 2 news KPRC: “South Asian Diet and Your Health”


Show Date: August 28

Location: KPRC Studio, 8181 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TX 77074

Dr. Ali:  Memorial Hermann Cardiologist

LarryYonda: Memorial Hermann Executive Chef

Show will begin with Dr. Asif Ali, Larry Yonda and Courtney Zavala discussing how to eat South Asian food in a healthy way. Immediately following this segment, Larry and James will prepare a South Asian entrée and Dr Ali will discuss heart health and South Asian Food.

Talking Points regarding South Asian Foods:

  • What is considered South Asian:  India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
  • Coronary artery disease strikes the South Asian population at a four-fold rate compared to general population.
  • Asian Indians develop heart disease about 10 years earlier than other populations.  Eating South Asian food (which is commonly fried and rich in saturated fatty acids) may contribute to the large amount of cardiovascular disease within the South Asian community.  There are also the genetic factors we cannot change, but should be noted: South Asians have smaller LDL (bad cholesterol) particles that have a higher tendency to accumulate in coronary arteries and cause atherosclerosis. HDL (good cholesterol) levels are lower in south Asians and the particle size is smaller making them less protective to the heart.
  • The wonderful thing about Houston is the diversity of foods we eat.  South Asian food is certainly a popular choice and many times people want to replicate these meals at home.  Today, we’re talking about healthier ways to do that.
    • Fried food (samosa, pakora), curries made in butter or ghee, meat (beef, lamb, poultry with skin) are a popular choice in the Indian Pakistani cuisine. These, however, are rich in saturated fatty acids that increase our total cholesterol and LDL levels. Instead using olive oil, canola oil which contain monunsaturated fats that can lower cholesterol levels, are healthier alternatives.
    • Lean meats contain much less saturated fats than fatty meats, they are also a good source of unsaturated fats. Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which can increase HDL, lower triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of CAD.
  • Glycemic Index, which essentially measures the effects of carbohydrates on the blood sugar levels, is important for diabetics and prediabetics alike.  Eating foods with a high Glycemic Index – such as the popular jasmine rice, white bread, chapati, dosai, idli, poori, tapioca and potatoes can lead to elevated triglycerides and increase in sugars.  The alternative is to eat whole grain products, fruits, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, lettuce and most vegetables.

Prevention and education is the key and we hope you are enlightened on healthy alternatives of the diversity of South Asian foods that we all enjoy.