CHOLESTEROL ! THE SILENT LIFE THREATENER FOR 60% AND HOW TO EAT YOURSELF SAFE.

A NASTY SHOCK.

My wife has had two nasty shocks recently. Firstly ,during a routine check visit to her Doctor she found out her Cholesterol levels were high, too high for comfort. However, it was the second shock that really gripped her. Out of the blue last week, the Doctor telephoned her. It transpired that his computer was flashing red at her name and giving him cause for concern. As a result, we now await the results of specific blood and urine tests to identify the real level of the problem. Worrying times, but there is evidence that she can help reduce her level to safety, simply by following simple key diet information that I came across recently.Over 60% of Westerners seem to have levels beyond those considered safe.

Now we ALL need Cholesterol in our body to assist the body to function properly but as it is a form of fat in the blood stream, too much is a clear danger. Specifically too much Cholesterol in the blood heightens the dangers of Heart Disease and it is Heart Disease that claims more lives than even leading Cancer diseases. Thus, straight and simple information on how to reduce, and then maintain safe levels of Cholesterol is of genuine interest and benefit to us all.

Here, to aid my wife particularly, and any others who may care to consider taking control of their own Cholesterol levels, I relate the ways in which simple attention to what is eaten can be a lifesaver. The word "DIET" is often a big put off for some, so I am loath to use that word. Instead, consider what follows as a simple guide to what you CAN eat to curb those Cholesterol levels, as opposed to a list of things you must avoid.

THE SUPERB SIX.

Research has revealed that ,in the fight to reduce and then maintain Cholesterol levels, some foods can play a key part in aiding your efforts to keep your heart safe. They have been labelled as follows:

1. "SMART FOODS "

2. NUTS.

3. FIBRE

4.SOYA.

5. "HEALTHY " OILS.

6. OATS.

AS THE READER CAN EASILY IDENTIFY, THERE IS NOTHING EARTH SHATTERING IN THAT LIST BUT IT IS CLAIMED THAT INCLUSION IN YOUR FOOD INTAKE OF THESE CAN REDUCE YOUR CHOLESTEROL LEVEL BY 20% IN JUST 12 WEEKS.

So, let us look specifically at each of the above in easy to understand language.

"SMART" FOODS.

I dislike this term but it serves to pull together items that assist in blocking the absoption of dietary cholestorol.. It is stated that use of these foods can reduce levels by around 9% in just 3 weeks when taken as integral to an unsaturated fat diet. Key items here are easily available yoghurt products. My wife is now drinking one such daily from our local supermarket, as a key constituent of her breakfast. Also certain margarine products {check labels} are beneficial.

Taking the right amount in daily is key here. for example, 6 teaspoons of low-fat margarine daily is the recommended intake. This contains the right amount of sterols needed, alongside stanols to maintain a correct balance of Cholesterol.

NUTS.

Nuts come in different shapes, sizes and flavours and if you avoid having them salted ,then any nut eaten can be a benefit. Intake is recommended as a palm of the hand full daily {about 25g to 50g daily The added value of nuts is that they fill you up and assist in avoiding fatty snacks during the day.

FIBRE.

As a celiac, my main fibre these days comes from beans and happily, beans are good in containing Cholesterol. I am not strong on pulses but they are also beneficial. For non celiacs, high fibre bread helps boost the intake.The recommendation here is around 18g to 20g per day o fwholemeal bread {not white}. Thus one slice of wholemeal bread {or toast} plus a couple of tablespoons of beans will be most beneficial.

SOYA.

Milk, nuts, tofu {if you can eat it} and soya based yogurts fill this area. They can assist the liver in removing unhelpful Cholesterol from the bloodstream. 2 to 3 portions of these daily , which equate to half a litre of soya milk plus a soya yoghurt. Key advice is to start with a low level intake and build up.

"HEALTHY OILS".

Again, I dislike this term. Too many times I find the word "Healthy" is used when something is not very nice to take but is considered important.. However, in this case for example, Olive Oil and Rapeseed oils are items I use daily. Gratifying then to find that whilst they do not reduce Cholesterol that they strengthen arterial walls and thus render them less likely to Cholesterol damage. Best advice is to use them and steer clear of sunflower oil {can help furr arteries}, lard and butter.

OATS.

The secret here is that oats contain compounds called beta glucans. These gel in the digestive tract ,bind Cholesterol in the gut and prevent it being absorbed before excretion. . I would add here a personal word of caution as oats are eaten a lot in Scotland, which has the largest heart disese rate in Europe, and thus, it is not a cure-all ! That said, research reveals 90g of oats taken daily helps reduce Cholesterol by 5% in 12 weeks.

EMBRACE THE CHANGE.

The above sets out the way forward to reduce Cholesterol. There is no magic cure just sensible incorporation into the diet. It does not imply that these items are the sole constituents of a diet. Far from it, sensible consumption of other foods such as eggs, meat and meat products like good sausages, cheeses, chocolate and coffee, for example is to be encouraged.

The key is to take in a balance that will aid the body to perform naturally and as ever, that means moderation is to be encouraged in all areas, especially in what we eat. It is recommended that those over 40 years of age have a Cholesterol check at least once every 5 years done by your GP. A score of 8 or over means the patient has a medium to high risk of cardiovacular disease. My wife scored 7.4, hence the emergency phone call from the Doctor. Needless to say, we await the blood and urine tests with bated breath, whilst at the same time we take heed of the information included here. More to follow, of that I am sure.

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