Your Heart Health Matters
Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Ireland for both men and women. High cholesterol is one of the major risk factors associated with coronary heart disease. Shockingly, 4 out of 5 people over 45 years have high cholesterol, and 2/3 of these are untreated. The Irish Heart Foundation recommends that healthy adults should have a total cholesterol level below 5 mmol/L. A simple blood test will measure your blood cholesterol level.
If your cholesterol is high, there are many positive dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce cholesterol. Taking plant sterols daily should be your first step in lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol. Plant sterols are naturally occurring substances found in plants. They work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine, which contributes to a significant decrease in the blood LDL “bad” cholesterol level. New research confirms that 1.6 g (2 tablets) Zerochol® plant sterols can lower cholesterol by 17% in 3 months, without any side effects.
80% of heart disease is preventable, simply by making a few dietary and lifestyle changes! Alongside taking plant sterols, implement these simple changes to help lower your cholesterol to the recommended level:
Switch to Healthier Fats
The total amount of fat you eat, whether high or low isn’t really linked with disease. What really matters is the type of fat you eat. The “bad” fats – saturated and trans fats, increase the risk for certain diseases. The “good” fats however – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lower disease risk. The key to a healthy diet is to include more good fats such as fatty fish, seeds such as flaxseed and seed oils, olive oil, nuts such as walnuts. Furthermore, it is important to limit saturated fats to a minimum by reducing red meat, dairy, vegetable oils, pastries, cakes, biscuits and fried foods.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fats EPA and DHA from cold water fatty fish (sardines, anchovies, mackerel, salmon) have many benefits for heart health. They have been shown to lower triglycerides, balance cholesterol, regulate heart rate and make blood platelets less sticky, overall improving heart health considerably. Omega-3 fats are found in high amounts in oily fish and to a lesser degree in nuts and seeds. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Taking a daily fish oil supplement such as Eskimo-3, naturally rich in omega-3, can support your heart, brain, joints and skin and is a simple way to safeguard your health.
Eat a Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide a multitude of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which have been shown to help maintain a healthy heart. Antioxidants help prevent the LDL cholesterol from oxidising, which prevents plaque from building up on the insides of the walls of the arteries. Snack on whole fruits or vegetable crudités with hummus, add salad as a side to each meal and include lots of vegetables with your dinner. Eat a vegetarian meal at least twice a week.
Exercise regularly and Try to Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do for your heart. Exercise helps to increase your HDL (good) cholesterol, lower blood pressure and strength your heart muscle.
Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol Consumption.
Smoking is also a major risk factor for heart disease as it contributes to hardening of the arteries. Visit quit.ie for advice on how to break the habit. Irish men and women have been known to binge drink at weekends and regularly consume a lot more than the recommended 2-3 units. So, if you drink, drink in true moderation: two or three units on one evening and no more than a couple of nights a week.
New Online Cholesterol Lowering Program
Changing habits is never easy, so you should consider signing up for Zerochol’s new online support program to help support your cholesterol lowering efforts. Participants of the program receive daily e-mails with information about cholesterol, heart health, the mediterranean diet, healthy eating tips, good fats versus bad fats, grocery list, recipes, healthy food swap ideas, lifestyle recommendations and more!
Fantastic “I have reduced my cholesterol from 6.6 to 4.7. I’m amazed and absolutely delighted with this 3 month result! The Daily email from the Zerochol Team was very informative and kept me on my toes ! I’m also taking Eskimo oil daily; it works nicely along with Zerochol in keeping your heart healthy and brain active.” Grainne Murphy, Galway.
For more information or to register for the 6 Week Cholesterol Program www.zerochol.ie/register