12/13/09 5/17/09 6/18/08 6/17/07 9/27/06 3/3/06 10/30/05 Alert
NCEP Data                    
Chol (mg/dl) 175 176 195 174 164 221 252 >=200 < 200 136 - 225
LDL-C (mg/dl) 103 110 129 101 101 143 155 >=100 < 100 64 - 147
HDL-C (mg/dl) 48 43 39 44 37 46 43 < 40 >=40 32 - 63
Trig (mg/dl) 119 115 135 144 131 160 270 >=150 < 150 59 - 233
Advanced Risk Markers                    
LDL IIIa+IIIb   10.2 20.7 34.6 45.9 13.5 42.3 >= 20 <=15 13.6 - 43
LDL IVb (%)   0.8 2.2 3.9 2.1 2.4 2.4 >=10 <=5 1.7 - 9.8
HDL 2b (%) 19 15 12 16 14 14 9 < 10 > 20 7 - 30
ApoB (mg/dl)   87 102 105 102 124   > 120 < 60 60 - 140
Insulin (mU/ml) 6 8 8         >=12 <10 3 - 25
Glucose (mg/dl) 94 109 104         >=100 <100 70 - 99
The Story of Amrit

In 2005, I discovered that my husband was at a high risk for developing heart disease.  His cardiologist suggested that he immediately get on a regimen of statin medication, and adopt a diet and an exercise routine that was designed by a dietitian.  My husband, who was physically active all his life, was in a state of shock when he came to know that he was in the high risk category for heart diseases.  He felt that he was too young to be getting on a regimen of medication for the rest of his life and wanted to try and lower his risk factor numbers with diet and exercise first, before adding on the statins.  I was ready to support his decision.

We met with the dietitian who was recommended by the cardiologist and followed her recommendations exactly.  I started preparing meals using ingredients that the dietitian had pointed out to be the best for heart health.  I adapted the method of cooking each of these ingredients for an Indian palate.  The first 6-month check-up test results showed us that our diet and exercise routine was working very well.  The pattern was heartening in the months that followed. 

I started reading about medical studies in this area and found out that Modified Cretan diet has proven to be effective in reducing recurrent heart diseases.  I learned about the optimal proportions of carbohydrate, fats and proteins from the OmniHeart study.  I incorporated ingredients in my recipes that Ayurveda had described to help the heart health (but only after making sure that the western medicine did not indicate that the ingredient was detrimental to heart health).  I studied the different ingredients used in the Cretan diet and in diets of people from other countries (like Japan) that have had low heart disease rates historically.  So my recipes evolved and my kitchen became a fusion cooking experiment station.

Slowly I realized that the recipes I was developing in my kitchen could be called “MediterrAsian”.   I felt that there was a need for someone to put together a book that showed how you can combine flavors from different cultures, to make delicious meals which help heart health.  So, now the foods that my husband used to bring down his risk factor numbers are put together in the form of recipes in the book “Amrit: Luscious & Heart-Healthy Indian Meals”.

There is a need to change how we look at and use food in our society.  In US alone, one in three American adults - 80 million people live with some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD).  In 2010, more than $475 billion will be spent on its treatment and related loss in productivity.  The population from the Indian subcontinent (which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal) has the highest rates of CVD worldwide. The incidence of diabetes among south Asians living in the UK and US is as high as twelve to fifteen percent, compared to three to five percent in people of European ancestry. Recent studies have stated that Asian Indians in the United States and globally have the highest rates of morbidity and mortality because of coronary heart disease (CHD) and diabetes.

Medical literature suggests that at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided through healthy diet, regular physical activity and avoiding tobacco smoke.

Amrit is published to spread knowledge about preventing and controlling cardiovascular diseases, using diet as a tool. This is a fight that can be won with awareness, knowledge, and participation of all people.

- Purnima Nandkishore