Eating your way to a Healthy Heart!
What’s this Cholesterol business all about then?
When it comes to our health there are a lot of things to think about. We want to maintain a healthy weight and look and feel good, and we also want to be healthy on the inside. But there’s a lot of information out there and it can get a bit confusing trying to sort out the facts.
Thankfully, here at LemonBody, we know the truth about healthy eating and today we’re talking about Cholesterol and eating your way to a healthy heart.
When it comes to looking after your heart, understanding cholesterol and knowing how to lower Cholesterol levels is the key. Having some basic Cholesterol knowledge and being able to apply that in your everyday life can make a big difference to your long term health – and it’s not difficult when you know how!
All you need to know about Cholesterol!
Over half of all UK Adults have raised Cholesterol levels which can cause Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) as fatty deposits build up inside arteries and restrict, or even block, blood flow around the heart.
Coronary Heart Disease is the biggest cause of premature death in the UK amongst adults under 65, but this needn’t be the case. A few simple things can make a big difference.
You can get your Cholesterol levels checked by your Doctor or your Pharmacist and it takes just minutes to do. There are no needles – just a small pinprick on your finger! Ask your pharmacy for a free Health Check and find out your Cholesterol level. This is especially important if you have a history of high Cholesterol in your family.
Even if your Cholesterol levels are low, keep them that way by following the advice below:
Eat more ‘Good’ Fats and fewer “Bad” Fats
It’s important to understand the different types of fat in your diet because your Cholesterol levels are partly determined by the fats you eat. Replacing bad fats with good ones will help lower your Cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy.
You’ve probably heard of Saturated Fats – these are the bad guys.
Saturated Fats come from animals and are found in things like fatty meat, butter, milk and cheese. That means they’re also in a lot of processed food such as cakes, crisps, biscuits and flapjacks. A lot of fried food is also high in Saturated Fat – think of sausages, fatty bacon etc.
Unsaturated Fats come from plants and are usually in the form of oils such as olive oil and rapeseed oil. These are the good guys and found in found in natural ingredients such as avocados and walnuts. Your body needs “good” fats to function correctly.
Suggested Fat Swaps
Eating more good fats and reducing the bad ones is the first step.
Have a think about what you usually eat and jot things down if it helps. Do you have butter on your toast in the morning? Could you replace this with an unsaturated alternative like Flora Proactive? Flora Proactive is clinically proven to help reduce Cholesterol levels by around 15% when consumed regularly and I use it every day on my toast and in my scrambled eggs!
What about your lunch? Rather than a cheese sandwich, perhaps try an oily fish like sardines instead? These are delicious with some rocket and a big dollop of chutney.
Monitoring and Planning makes a big difference!
When it comes to eating your way to good health, planning and monitoring is everything. If you’re new to this why not start with a food diary? When you’ve written down a week’s worth of food you could go back and highlight in different colours the Saturated and Unsaturated Fat items. This will give you a real insight into where you’re getting these different nutrients from. After trying to do some fat swaps for a week, go back and do the same – highlighting what kinds of fats you’re eating. You’ll be fascinated by the results.
Read the Label!
Food labels are better than ever in helping you see what’s in your food. Learn to read them and get into the habit of checking what you’re putting into you body! Avoid things high in Saturated Fat and cut down on Sugars too.
Remember that other factors are important to long term health too!
Don’t smoke! It’s a killer!
Watch what you drink – not more than 14 units a week is the recommended limit and most of us are way above that!
Taking some healthy exercise at least 3 times a week is vitally important too! It’s the second biggest killer in the UK (smoking comes tops!). Who’d have thought that sitting around was so dangerous? So get along to BootCamp!
Next week, look out for my article on The Silent Killer and how you can protect yourself and your family!
Captain Felix Deer joined the Army in 1985 and served in a number of Training Officer roles, qualifying as a Unit Fitness Officer in 1986. Since leaving the Army in 1994, Felix has sold property, built houses and flown airliners for a living, but has always maintained his keen interest in Fitness.