Health

Published: Sunday March 9, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday April 14, 2014 MYT 8:17:46 PM

Lower your cholesterol

Exercise, for example walking, will help keep cholestoral levels down. - MCT

Exercise, for example walking, will help keep cholestoral levels down. - MCT

Take steps to manage your cholesterol level for a healthier life.

MOST people tend to take festive seasons as once-a-year affairs and overindulge in food. We should be more watchful of what and how much we eat during such festivities because many of the food options available are bad for the heart as they tend to be high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt and sugar.

In addition to the overindulgence, most of us also tend to take a break from our regular exercise routine during the period. Uncontrolled and excessive eating coupled with reduced physical activity will lead to undesirable weight gain, and all it’s consequences.

If you’re struggling to get back to some semblance of your normal routine, you’re not alone. We know we should get moving, but we find all sorts of excuses to avoid starting.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Set small achievable goals. You mustn’t get caught up in the “all or nothing” mindset – doing something is better than doing nothing.

And everyone has to start somewhere. Even if you’ve been sedentary for years, today is the day you can begin to make healthy changes in your life.

Exercise tips

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week for a total of 150 minutes, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of the two coupled with moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least two or more days per week for additional health benefits.

If you don’t think you’ll make it for 30 minutes, set a reachable goal. You can work towards your overall goal of 30 minutes by increasing your time as you get stronger. Don’t let all-or-nothing thinking rob you of doing what you can every day.

Dietary tips

  •  Throw out trans fat

When it comes to fat, trans fat is considered by some to be the worst type of fat. Trans fat raises your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your “good” (HDL) cholesterol.

Festive goodies such as cookies, cakes and pastries mostly contain vegetable shortening and margarine.

Deep fried food has trans fat, and all types of oil can be converted to trans fat under high and prolonged heat.

Tip: Try to cut down intake of cookies, cakes and pastries or look for trans fat-free delicacies and margarine if you crave for some. Remember that all these cookies are also laden with sugar, and is thus super calorific.

  • Cut saturated fat

Saturated fat also raises LDL cholesterol. It is commonly found in fatty meat, poultry skin, and processed meats.

Tip: Trim off fat and skin from meat and poultry. Reduce intake of processed meat such as sausages, chicken nuggets, etc. Go for fresh lean meat, skinless poultry and fish. Increase intake of good fats such as omega 3 fatty acids from fish. Increase intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Beta glucan

Another method to help better manage high cholesterol and saturated fat levels is to take a high beta glucan drink – one which gives 3g of beta glucan daily.

Most oats-based drinks are very bland and unappealing, which makes it almost impossible to drink daily. But there are options that taste much better, for example, an oats and barley combination. Both are rich sources of beta glucan.

Aside from taste, the convenience of packaging is also vital. Look for a cholesterol-lowering drink that comes in convenient, dose-specific sachets for accurate dosing, where you can easily carry in your pocket and handbag for work, leisure or travel.

For more information, call Oatley INFOline 03-6142 6570 (Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm); e-mail: info@oatley-hi-beta-glucan.com; or visit www.oatley-hi-beta-glucan.com.

Tags / Keywords: Health, oats, cholesterol

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