Heart Attack

Severe pain in chest and radiating to one or both the arms, sometimes to the neck or the jaw is a heart attack.


  • Inadequate supply of blood and oxygen to the heart is the main reason.
  • Atherosclerosis of the coronary artery.
  • Arteriosclerosis.
  • Sudden emotional upsets.
  • Increased triglycerides and cholesterol.
  • Sedentary life.
  • Obesity.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Chronic consumption of alcohol.
  • Chronic smoking.
  • Drug abuse like – cocaine etc.
  • Hypertension.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Family history.


  • Severe pain in chest – crushing, constricting, sharp, burning pain with feeling of strangling and suffocation.
  • Pain may radiate to both arms or mostly along the left arm to the little finger and the jaw, teeth, neck throat, epigastric region and between the shoulder blades.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Sweating.
  • Irregular heartbeats.
  • Pale bluish lips or fingernails.
  • Clammy skin.
  • And a sense of anxiety and fear.


Patients with history of heart attack or family history should take following dietary measures to prevent the heart attack again.

  • Cut down salt (common table salt) intake in your diet to avoid hypertension. Intake should not exceed more then 2 to 2.5 gm a day.
  • Avoid foods rich in cholesterol: ground nut oil, ghee, butter, whole milk, eggs, lard (fats derived from pig meat), tallow (fats derived from goat or sheep mutton) – all non-vegetarian food contain cholesterol in varied amount.
  • Avoid non-vegetarian food especially red meat.
  • Increase intake of foods that contain PUFA`s (poly unsaturated fatty acids): flax / linseed oil is the richest source of PUFA`s. Other oils that contain PUFA`s are safflower oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, olive oil. As all oils are high in fats, its consumption should be limited. The intake of oils should not exceed 20gms a day.
  • Sesame oil and almond oil hinders the absorption of LDL (low-density lipoproteins), so it is advisable to use replace other cooking oils by sesame oil.
  • Increase your intake of water.
  • Consume whole grain cereals and whole pulses.
  • Take high fiber diet – whole grains, bran, oat, green leafy vegetables etc.
  • Cut down the intake of sugar and other sweeteners.
  • Avoid fat-rich portions of flesh foods. Instead have lean meat.
  • Avoid fat-rich desserts and fried snacks like cakes, pastries, puddings etc
  • Instead of frying food boil, steam, grill or roast food.
  • Avoid coffee and caffeinated drinks, junk food – pizza, burgers etc.
  • Consume food rich in magnesium.
  • – Nuts and sea food, green leafy vegetables, sea plants like Japanese sea plants, whole grains, peas, lotus stem, pulses, legumes and oil seeds.
  • Increase intake of vitamin C, it maintains the elasticity and integrity of the artery walls.
  • – Citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, vegetables- cabbage, broccoli, tubers- potatoes and sweet potatoes.
  • Increase calcium intake:-
  • milk and sea food, nuts- ground nuts, walnut, almond and cashew nuts; green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fruits like – custard apple and banana.
  • Peas, lotus stem, pulses, legumes and oil seeds.