Control Our Cholesterol Levels

A women's heart is central to both her emotional and physical well-being. No matter how much a woman's heart is broken, it will mend in due course.

However, the physical health of her heart is another matter if it is not well taken care of. This is especially critical as many presume that cardiovascular disease does not strike at women.

In fact, heart disease is the no. 1 killer of women in Malaysia - more deadly than all the cancers put together! From 1990 to 2005, heart disease among women has risen by a staggering 135%. In 2006, 23% of women's deaths were due to heart disease. However, it is never too late to improve our heart health. Whatever a woman's age, she needs to take action to protect her heart from this deadly disease.

An unhealthy lifestyle is one of the risk factors that can lead to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis happens when the 'LDL-C' (bad cholesterol) penetrates the lining of our blood vessel to form plaque. The more plaque there is, the narrower the space inside our blood vessel and the less room for blood to flow through. Ultimately, we get a heart attack.

High cholesterol is another major risk factor for heart disease. When you have high cholesterol, you are at a high risk of developing high blood glucose and high blood pressure – both of which are factors for diabetes and hypertension respectively.

The positive news is, there are steps we can take to control our blood cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.

Get Health Checks

Every woman over the age of 20 should have her blood cholesterol level checked regularly. If you have never done this, do schedule one soon.

Doctors recommend that we keep our total blood cholesterol level below 5.2mmol/L, your LDL-C ('bad' cholesterol) lower than 2.6 mmol/L and your HDL-C ('good' cholesterol) higher than 1.3 mmol/L.

Eat Heart-Healthy Oats

If you have normal cholesterol levels, eating oats will ensure that your heart stays healthy. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "diets high in oatmeal or oat bran and low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease".

Oats contain oat-soluble fibre (beta-glucan) which has been clinically proven to lower cholesterol. Beta-glucan binds the cholesterol-laden bile acids in our gut and prevents the cholesterol from entering our bloodstream.

Oats are also a low-fat source of energy, which takes longer to digest. This means that we stay full for a longer period of time and will not succumb to over-eating – an added benefit for women who are trying to lose weight!

For women whose test results show moderately high to very high cholesterol, they may be at risk of heart disease. They should be receiving treatment and taking advantage of the benefits oats can offer.

Two bowls of oats a day (70g, which will deliver about 3g of beta-glucan) can make a world of difference in helping to lower high blood cholesterol levels.

Include Key Nutrients

While oat-soluble fibre is important, women need to consume adequate amounts of calcium, iron and folate too.

This is because calcium improves bone health and helps prevent osteoporosis. This is critical as women's bone density decreases with age.

Iron helps in red blood cell formation and healthy blood circulation. A lack of iron leads to anaemia, which is common among menstruating women.

Folate supports red blood cell production, prevents anaemia and reduces the risk of giving birth to a baby with a neural tube defect. Women of childbearing age are strongly encouraged to make folate a part of their diet.

Look out for convenient food products that contain not just fibre but calcium, iron and folate, which can be taken with minimum fuss and preparation time.

Sweat It Out

Yes, we can reduce our high LDL-C by eating a high-fibre, low-fat diet, but it is harder to increase our HDL-C. The only way is by losing body weight and exercising regularly.

So, as busy as your work schedule may be, do find the time to exercise. All you need is at least 20 minutes of exercise on most days of the week (make it 60 minutes if you want to lose weight).

And if going to the gym or playing a sport is not your cup of tea, why not start to incorporate little chunks of physical activity throughout your day? For instance, take a brisk walk during your lunch hour, park your car farther and walk to the office or take the stairs instead of the lift.

It is time to take care of your heart and life.

More info on CHOLESTEROL here.

Jom bincang artikel di atas...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Lagi Info Semasa di FB SihatSelalu