Cholesterol is a naturally occurring fat produced by the body and is essential for good health if kept at the correct level. Having too high a level can increase the risk of heart disease and strokes.
Cholesterol is carried through the blood in molecules called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. It consists mainly of fat which can become deposited in the arteries. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered the “good” cholesterol since its primary role is to transport LDL back to the liver where it can be processed for elimination.
Although a large percentage of the cholesterol in your blood stream is made by your own body, one way to try and control high cholesterol levels naturally is through diet and lifestyle changes.
Tips for lowering cholesterol levels
Reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats. These are found in fatty meats, dairy products, processed foods, biscuits and cakes.
Water makes up about two thirds of the weight of a healthy body. Water is essential for elimination of toxins, absorption of nutrients, regulation of body temperature and transport of oxygen into cells. The sensation of thirst may not be triggered until dehydration is well established and the feeling of thirst can become desensitised if it is ignored on a regular basis.
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
Lack of concentration, headaches
Constipation, dark coloured urine
Lack of energy
Feeling light headed
Maintaining hydration may help control weight – one can often confuse hunger with thirst.
How much do we need?
Guidelines vary from 1.2 to 2.5 litres of fluid per day to be replaced. This of course depends on levels of exercise and climate. Most nutritional therapists will advise an intake of 6-8 glasses of water per day, which equates to 1.2 litres. Although tea, coffee and soft drinks do contribute to fluid intake, water has the benefit of being caffeine-fr...
The best vitamin D source is from sensible exposure to sunlight, which is why it is often called ‘the sunshine vitamin’ although this is difficult at certain times of the year and for certain high risk groups. During the winter we use our body’s stores and what is available from our diet.
However, dietary vitamin D makes a relatively small contribution to overall vitamin D status as it is not present in high quantities in many foods. So even a good balanced diet can mean it is difficult to get all the vitamin D you need.
It is found in small amounts in:
Oily fish (e.g salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and fresh tuna) – no more than 2 portions a week in pregnancy
Eggs (ensure fully cooked)
Fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and some spreads and yogurts
Supplementation of vitamin D is recommended to all pregnant ladies at 400 units (10mcg) per day. Higher levels of supplementation are recommended if a deficiency is identified and a GP can recommend the appropriate l...
It is often confusing to know the best way to lose weight with so much conflicting advice in the media. So here are some top tips for sensible and sustainable weight loss.
Ensure that there is good quality protein in every meal and snack, as this will help you to balance your blood sugar levels. Try to include a wide variety of sources such as fish, white lean meats and eggs. Also include other sources such as beans, pulses, natural live yoghurt, small portions of nuts and seeds.
Increase the amount of fibre in your diet by eating plenty of vegetables and whole grains throughout the day. This will help to improve the feeling of fullness after meals. A good guide is to fill up half of your plate with vegetables or salad.
Reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates in your diet such as white bread, cakes and biscuits. Choose wholegrain options instead and try to ensure a good variety of healthy snacks including some protein.
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