Medical Factors Dietary choices The choices that people make about food depends on many factors including Dietary and medical needs Religion Ethical reasons Coronary heart disease An angina attack happens when blood cannot get to the heart to supply it with oxygen. This happens when the arteries leading to the heart become narrower due to fatty deposits. A heart attack will result if the artery is completely blocked by a blood clot. Factors which increase the risk of coronary heart disease are High blood pressure Smoking High cholesterol You can lower cholesterol levels by Reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet Increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat Take regular exercise. Diabetes Diabetes is the third most common long term disease in the UK. It can lead to complications such as Heart disease Kidney disease Blindness Nerve problems Diabetics cannot produce sufficient insulin to control the glucose level in the blood There are two types of diabetes Type 1 can be treated with injections Type 2 can be controlled by diet and or injections To prevent diabetes you should have a balanced diet and take regular exercise. Lactose intolerance People can be intolerant of many foods. Lactose intolerance is common and affects about 70% of the worlds population. It can be temporary or permanent and is caused by a lack of lactase the digestive enzyme which breaks down lactose found in cows, sheep and goats milk into simple sugars. If you suffer you should avoid milk products and replace them with soya products. Allergies All allergies involve the immune system, and are usually more serious than food intolerance. Symptoms of allergies are Coughing Dry throat Nausea Feeling bloated Vomiting Wheezing Running or blocked nose Sore/red eyes Nut allergies In some people with a nut allergy, a very small amount can trigger anaphylaxis. This is a severe reaction which causes the airways to swell and lowers the blood pressure. It can result in death if not treated quickly. Food labels must state if they contain nuts. Coeliac disease This is intolerance to gluten which is found in wheat, rye and barley. Coeliacs cannot absorb nutrients if they eat gluten. Corn rice and potatoes do not contain gluten.You can also buy special gluten free products in most shops. Religion Followers of some religion are required to follow certain rules. Kosher or Halal meat is slaughtered in a special way. Jews-No shellfish or pork and only kosher meat. No dairy products and meat in the same meal. Hindus-no beef or beef products Sikhs-No beef or could be vegetarian Muslims-No pork, only Halal meat. Ethical issues Some people avoid meat due to environmental issues or health risks. Some people avoid beef due to concerns over BSE. Some avoid chicken and turkey due to the bird flu issues. Some people avoid fish due to the overfishing. Or prawns because this fishing is very energy expensive and wasteful. Producing unnecessary greenhouse gases.