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CHITWAN: Doctors have advised the public to be careful of their food choices during this festive season.
They prescribe for limiting the intake of meat products, beverages, and sugary foods during the Dashain festival.
BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital’s medical oncologist Dr Guru Sharan Shah cautioned that festival foods are generally not suitable for good health and can increase the risk of cancer. Liquor products, in particular, can contribute to various cancer risks including liver, throat, stomach, breast, and intestine cancers.
Dr. Shah also highlights the health risks associated with excessive intake of red meat and sugary foods, which can increase the risk of colon cancer. Grilled meat, due to the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, is linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer.
Dr. Shankar Laudari, a cardiologist at Chitwan Heart Hospital, recommends a daily meat intake of just 50-70 grams per person. Consuming more than 150 grams of meat per day can lead to a 15 percent higher chance of suffering a heart attack, according to the doctor.
Moreover, regular meat consumption is associated with a higher risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. “To mitigate these risks, it is advisable to remove fat and skin from meat before cooking and prepare it with minimal oil, spices, and salt. Chicken is a better choice compared to mutton, and fish is recommended over red meat,” Laudari added.
Senior physician Dr. Bhojraj Adhikari advises the public for maintaining a balanced diet during the festival season, urging them to avoid red meat when possible. “Skinless meat is a good source of protein and is healthier. Excessive use of salt, oil, and spices to enhance the taste of meat is discouraged from a medical perspective.”
It is worth noting that frozen meat, as well as grilled, fried, and dried meats, are not considered healthy options.
Fresh meat should be prepared with minimal salt, oil, and spices. Combining meat consumption with beverages and smoking poses greater health risks. A better approach is to include fruits and vegetables along with meat products for a more balanced and health-conscious diet, doctors recommend.