The American Heart Association reported on a recent paper describing how Asian American diets can be tuned to prevent heart disease and diabetes. An important point that the paper makes make is that understanding the diets of each Asian ethnic group is key in order to improve them. Dr. Latha Palaniappan says that her patients are often asked to fill out food surveys based on an American diet:
Her Asian patients were going to nutritionists and being told to not eat foods such as hamburgers, fries or mayonnaise. “The patients would say, ‘Oh, well, I don’t eat those things anyway.’ And they would go back to eating their samosa (fried pastries stuffed with anything from meat to chocolate), jalebi (a syrupy dessert) and fried foods and not connecting that those, also, were not healthy for their heart or their blood vessels.”
The report goes into detail about specific strengths and weakness of different Asian Ethnic groups by region. It doesn’t advocate that everyone turn to the Mediterranean diet, but suggests how Asian American diets can be tuned to improve them. For example, South Asian diets could benefit from adding more vegetables to stews.