‘Can Chicken Biriyani cause a heart attack?’: Cardiac specialist answers questions from the web

On World Heart Day, MGM Healthcare’s Dr. AB Gopalamurugan sits down with us to answer the most pressing questions on heart health, from the diet to exercise.
‘Can Chicken Biriyani cause a heart attack?’: Cardiac specialist answers questions from the web
‘Can Chicken Biriyani cause a heart attack?’: Cardiac specialist answers questions from the web
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How much food is too much food, and unhealthy for your heart? Is all fat bad fat? Do you really have to quit eating oily food if you are an old-age heart patient?

These are among the many questions that people have when it comes to the heart. And on World Heart Day, we are sitting down with Dr. AB Gopalamurugan of MGM Healthcare to answer some of the most common, popular and hilarious questions we found on Google. 

Before we get into it, remember, treating the heart is not an easy job anymore. Many things can go wrong, so multiple specialists and departments are needed to work on it. MGM Healthcare in Chennai has all these departments and experts, making it the one stop destination for all heart ailments. If you or anyone you know is facing a heart emergency in Chennai, call 044 4200 4200 - MGM Healthcare’s emergency heart hotline. 

You can watch the video interview on YouTube here, or read his answers below. 

Q: Can chicken biriyani cause a heart attack?

Dr. AB Gopalamurugan: Well, yes and no. It depends on many things.

First, it depends on the quantity you eat. If you eat a normal serving - one or two cups it is no problem. If you eat one or two kilograms of it, the problem is as big as the portion size. Moderation is key. 

Where you get the biriyani from also matters. Homemade biriyani is better. On the other hand, while ordering from a restaurant, it is better to make sure only fresh and unadulterated ingredients are used.

The larger point here is about having a balanced diet. If you eat too much biriyani and just that, then obviously it will lead to heart ailments. You should include fresh vegetables and fruits and other nutritious food in your diet too. Ultimately, it is about moderation and balance.  

While we are discussing meat, let me take this opportunity to answer another very important question here: what kind of meat is better and what isn't. 

I have a simple theory you can remember: The meat of any animal that has more than two legs is not good for your health.

So, fish – great! It is very good for you, especially fatty fish. They are rich in omega-3 fats that are good for your heart. Chicken is alright too. 

 Mutton, beef or pork - all these animals have more than two legs. So obviously, not good. They are high in bad cholesterol. So, if you are having too much red meat, you might as well order a heart surgery with it. 

 Not everything from the sea is good for you either. Prawns are very fatty and high on bad cholesterol too! And if you think about it, each prawn has more than 20 legs! 

Q: I am a 70-year-old heart patient, can I eat oily food? 

Dr. AB Gopalamurugan: This answer is sure to make your families angry, but I owe you the truth. Even if you are a 70-year-old heart patient, it is okay - YOU CAN EAT OILY FOOD! The answer is a loud, and resounding YES!

What you eat at 40 has an impact on your health when you are 70. What you eat at 70 would take 20-30 years to affect you. So, you can enjoy some fried food occasionally. 

The most important thing to be kept in mind is portion control. You can’t go on to eat three plates of bajjis, every day of the week. You can have a plate once a week but remember to balance it out with fruits and vegetables without fail. 

Also, not all fat is bad fat. In fact, our bodies are made of fat. The idea that we should not eat fatty food is bad. What matters here is the kind of fat we eat. It is best to go for a moderate quantity of high-quality fatty food. 

Q: Can I smoke just two cigarettes a day?

Dr. AB Gopalamurugan: Why stop with just two? Wouldn’t it be better if you smoked at least 10-15? Maybe the whole pack would do justice. If you are planning on giving up your life, you might as well make some profit for the tobacco companies in the process. 

Ok, seriously! Smoking is an absolute NO. Not even one of them is okay. If you are a smoker, please stop right away. 

But here’s the good news: the minute you stop smoking the risk of you getting heart disease decreases. From that moment deposition of plaque reduces, blood clotting comes down and blood becomes thinner. Essentially you live longer and healthier. This is the incentive for you to stop smoking immediately. 

Q: Can my heart be healthy if I don't exercise?

 Dr. AB Gopalamurugan: The answer is simple. If you keep sitting without any physical activity, you can’t get fit and will face a higher risk of cardiac problems. Our bodies were made to move and that’s why we have limbs. 

 It is not necessary to hit the gym every day. Even smaller everyday activities that have you moving around will keep your heart healthy. 

 You can stand and walk more. This reduces the risk of diabetes and heart problems. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is always a good idea. You can add more steps to your day by walking to the store near-by instead of taking your car or bike and get fit. 

 There is no lazy way or shortcut to getting fit. There are plenty of diets or routines that are touted to help you with weight loss. Diets like Keto or Paleo can help with short-term weight loss but are not going to be good for your health in the long term. They simply focus on one food group making you deficient in the others. 

 Instead of looking for such hacks, having a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables and recommended meat along with good physical activity is the best way to get heart-healthy and fit. 

 Q: How do I reduce stress in my life to have a healthy heart?

 Dr. AB Gopalamurugan: If you know of a way, please share it with me too! I am stressed from work and life as well. 

In reality, nobody is stress-free. You are stressed if you have a job, you are stressed if you don’t. You are stressed if you are married, and stressed even if you are not. Everything that happens around us can cause stress. 

We can’t control the world but we can control the way we deal with it. We must learn to deal with stress. 

The best solution to stress is getting good, enough and deep sleep. Having a hobby also can help you cope with stress better. Just make sure it is something that relaxes you. 

Spend more time with friends and loved ones. Yoga, meditation and having a good laugh also are excellent stress-busters.

But my favourite way to deal with stress is by putting the phone away. Stress hormones are activated every time you get a notification. The light from your phones also affects your sleep - research has found that looking at your phone before you go to bed worsens your sleep. 

The content we look at and post can also induce a lot of stress. We look at what is going on in the world and feel upset and jealous looking at what our friends are doing.

It is my proposal to make World Heart Day, World No Phone Day. This is the best treat we can give our ever-beating hearts. 

Now that you have read this article, it’s time to switch off your phone for the rest of the day to give your heart and mind a much-deserved day off.

If you are in Chennai and are experiencing a heart ailment, call MGM Healthcare’s heart emergency number - 4200 4200.

This article was created in association with MGM Healthcare. 

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