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British Heart Foundation to advise Gurdwarai on Nutrition

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Heart charity serves up healthy cooking tips to South Asian places of

worship in UK

Sikh Gurdwaras and Hindu Mandirs across the UK joined the fight

against heart disease when the British Heart Foundation (BHF)

launched its Healthier Social Cooking project, urging places of

worship to prepare meals low in salt and fat.

In partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the nation's

heart charity will be sending dieticians to 15 places of worship

across the country. The food experts will offer guidance to 200

volunteer cooks on how to serve healthy, delicious meals on a large

scale to congregation members, using spices and other ingredients in

the place of salt and ghee.

Eating too much salt can increase your blood pressure. Adults should

eat no more than six grams a day, less for children. Eating too much

saturated fat, such as ghee, can increase cholesterol levels and can

also contribute to heart disease.

South Asians living in the UK have a 50% higher death rate from heart

disease than the general population and this is thought to be partly

due to a poor diet. Around 90% of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi

men and women report adding salt during cooking, compared to 56% of

men and 53% of women in the general population1.

Professor Jaspal Singh Kooner, Cardiologist at Ealing Hospital,

London and member of BHF's Ethnic Strategy Committee, says: "The

burden of heart disease on South Asian communities is very worrying.

It's great to see the BHF embarking on innovative projects like this

which can have a real impact on the health of South Asian communities".

As well as working with volunteers who prepare the food, the

Healthier Social Cooking project will also offer information sessions

to 50,000 congregation members in English, Hindi and Punjabi. The

sessions will look at how to make healthy lifestyle choices,

including improvements to diet and how to understand food labelling.

Dr Louis Levy at the FSA says: "Most of us are eating too much salt,

which is why the FSA has been running a national public health

campaign to encourage people to cut down. We are pleased to be

working with the BHF to help raise awareness of the risks of high

salt consumption among the South Asian community - and to provide

practical advice on healthy eating."

The BHF's Healthier Social Cooking project is a joint venture between

Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall, London and BAPS Shri

Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, London. The project will work with

Sikh Gurdwaras and Hindu Mandirs in London, Birmingham and Bradford.

General Secretary of Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Dr Parvinder

Singh Garcha, said: "We are delighted to be working with the BHF and

the FSA on this project. Large numbers of people visit places of

worship and they are highly respected in the community, so they are

the ideal platform to give messages on healthy lifestyles."

Dr Maynak Shah, head of health committee at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan

Mandir in Neasden, London said: "The project is sure to be a

fantastic success and really shows how we can all work together to

beat heart disease."

The BHF has produced a range of booklets, DVDs and videos on heart

disease prevention and management in different South Asian languages.

The Looking after your heart booklet is available in English,

Gujarati, Punjabi and Hindi. For more information, please visit the

website http://www.bhf.org.uk/publicationsbhf.org.uk/publications

or call the publications line on 0870 600 6566.

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