Do the work of a nutrition therapist and science go together? Yes, in Kardiovize team!
Mgr. Iuliia Pavlovska is a member of the research team of Cardiovize Brno 2030 of The International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) and a doctoral student at Masaryk University in Brno. We talked about her research, but also her studies and trip to Brno, in a short interview.
In his research, Mgr. Pavlovska focuses on individual components of the metabolic syndrome and their influence on cardiovascular health. We wrote about her last article here:
You speak perfect Czech, have you been here a long time?
Not at all, but Czech and Ukrainian are quite similar languages. I was born in Kiev and came to the Czech Republic to study at university. I wanted to provide nutritional counseling abroad, and at Masaryk University in Brno I found that it existed as a special program in which general medicine did not have to be studied. I then got into FNUSA-ICRC at a time when I was looking for a job that could be well combined with my PhD study. I also wanted something that could be continued even after graduation, and research proved to be ideal for me.
So it wasn’t a child’s dream come true?
No, it certainly wasn’t like that, although I was that studying type, but the interest in science came over time. I’m quite an introvert, I like to read and write, and as a nutritional therapist I was in contact with people all day, which made me quite exhausted. I think that research work is an ideal compromise for me – I spend part of the day with patients, but I also have part of the day only for work alone or just to study for a PhD.
Now research… what you are doing and what your goal is?
I am just starting with another article that will focus on comparing the relationship between different definitions of obesity and arterial wall stiffness. The initial impetus for this research came from the topic of my PhD thesis “Connection of metabolic syndrome and embrittlement of arterial walls”. When I searched for articles that exist on this topic, I divided the metabolic syndrome into five parts – high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low HDL (high-density lipoprotein, “nice” cholesterol), high triglycerides and abdominal obesity. There were the fewest articles about the last two, and moreover, there were quite contradictory data – sometimes positive associations, sometimes negative, and sometimes associations were missing, so I started to deal with these two. I would also like to focus on how to properly define obesity. The question is whether to still take it according to the high percentage of fat in the body, according to the high BMI (body mass index), or according to the value of the waist circumference or according to a new metric that includes metabolic complications. Even a visually slim person can suffer from some form of obesity and, conversely, some stocky people would not be obese according to the new metric. In short, the issue of “public health” – I try to find new context and make general recommendations based on that.
The Czechs are the fourth fattest nation in Europe, what would you, as a nutrition therapist, recommend change?
In general, it is a matter of adjusting the overall quantity, composition and quality of the diet. In the classic diet, for example, there is still an excess of fat. Of course, it is unrealistic to change the eating habits of the Czech population, for example, towards Mediterranean cuisine. There are other and traditional ingredients, so we should focus more on diversity. So more vegetables, more fruit, add movement and it will only get better. And then it is also necessary to watch whether it is vegetable or animal fats, vegetable fats are more desirable, animal fats are saturated and have a bad effect on blood parameters, triglycerides and cholesterol. But even with those vegetable fats, it is necessary to be careful and limit palm or coconut oil. I recommend using olive oil in the cold kitchen, and if we can’t resist the taste of something fried, I prefer rapeseed oil to sunflower oil, because it is much more stable.
And speaking of Czech cuisine, what is your favorite food?
Now you’ve got me… Yes, it’s sirloin sauce with dumplings 🙂