The silent one

Over the last few weeks, I’d been sharing with you that I’ve gotten back to my fitness regime. And as I’d been saying, the ordeal feels like being a hamster on the wheel — you just keep on going round in roundabouts.
My gym friends are getting on my back. It wasn’t a good idea to meet up for coffee and cake earlier on in the week with them. I got nagged about my fitness and nutrition. Despite their prodding, I know that they’re only looking out for me. Being health conscious, they all offered yet more advice and encouragement to get me back on track, with more focus on cholesterol.
Do you consider yourself to be healthy? Do you eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke and take regular exercise? It is estimated that more than half of adults in general, have a higher than recommended cholesterol level.
High cholesterol is known as the silent killer as it doesn’t have any symptoms. Taking a few moments to learn about cholesterol would help you a lot in the way you view wellness. Like what I did with my friends over coffee, I was educated on what it is all about, what the proper level should and what you can do about it in case you have high cholesterol level.
Why is cholesterol a problem? Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is needed by your body to function and carried around in the body by two proteins – high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein. HDL carries cholesterol away from cells to the liver where its broken down and so its termed the good cholesterol. LDL transports cholesterol from the liver to body cells are where the problems arise when levels of LDL are too high. Cholesterol builds in your arteries, causing the blood flow to slow down or stop due to a blockage, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
In England, it is estimated that over half of all adults have raised cholesterol. Across the pond, in the United States, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 1 in 3 American adults has high cholesterol. Muscat and the Middle East may actually have figures not far from these.
To combat cholesterol, my mates shared several tips and tricks to keep it in check and in balance.
A healthy diet including soya has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Swap cows milk every now and then and replace peas for edamene beans.
Oats and barley are high in beta glucan, a soluble fibre known to bind to cholesterol in the gut preventing it from being absorbed.
Aim to eat at least one to two portions of oats daily. Swap bran flakes for porridge, digestives for oatcakes or choose flapjacks over doughnuts. That’s going to be hard! Who said this was easy?!
Oily fish such as salmon. mackerel and trout are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and can form part of a Mediterranean diet. This style of eating has been shown to rescue your risk of high cholesterol. Aim for at least two portions of fish per week, one of which is oil rich.
Swap cheese on toast one of my favourites, for sardines on toast or beef for prawns in a stir-fry.
Vegetable proteins such as nuts, beans, seeds and pulses like chick peas should be a regular in the diet as they are low in saturated fat and high in soluble fibre. Swap crisps for unsalted peanuts and include the aforementioned foods more regularly. Chickpea curry instead of chicken or simply add lentils to case casseroles and stews.
These may sound like a lot of changes in your diet but these are some of the means to bring your cholesterol level down so that you can achieve a healthier, fitter you.
I need to practice what I preach, that’s my problem. All this knowledge, my friends at the gym have told me, is power, so use it!

Sayeh Woodman
sayehwoodman@outlook.com