Mawrth 2004 March

Corwen Health Centre

Look After Your Heart

Confused about good fat and bad fat, is your cholesterol too high? 20% of the cholesterol in our blood comes from what we eat, it is made up of low density “lipids” (LDL) which clog up your arteries, known as BAD FATS, and high density “lipids” (HDL), GOOD FATS, which carry the LDL back to the liver to be disposed of and so help to clean up your arteries. Animal fats found in meat and dairy produce contain high levels of LDL, so do prawns! HDL fats are found in oily fish such as sardines, herrings, salmon and trout. If you hate fish then try fish oil supplements. Buying cooking oil and spreads can be confusing, hard white cooking fats, e.g., Lard, contain high saturated fats, high in bad LDL and should be avoided. Polyunsaturated oils and spreads contain polyunsaturated fats which should be used in moderation, e.g., Flora and vegetable oils. The least harmful fats to use are called monounsaturated fats, e.g., Olive oil and the much cheaper “Rape Seed” oil, and the olive oil containing spreads. The Flora “pro active” and Benecol products if used regularly can reduce your cholesterol by about 10 - 15%; you loose the benefit if you stop using the product. These are useful for people with slightly raised cholesterol levels, helping to bring the level back to normal, but will have limited impact on very high cholesterol levels. Exercise for 20 minutes three times a week (brisk walking) will strengthen your heart and raise the levels of HDL in your blood, red wine in moderation is also protective. If you have a relative who had angina or a heart attack before they were 60 years old you would benefit from a cholesterol check and further advice on preventing heart disease. Remember, the very best way to prevent heart disease is never to start smoking and if you are a smoker - give up.

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