‘Tis the season of Romance and Love

Ah it’s February, the days are finally lengthening, the daffodils and snow drops are out and thoughts are getting soft, squidgy and romantic. Well if you’re thinking of love and all things heart-shaped, consider as well the health of your loved-one’s heart.

Low-Fat or Low-Carbohydrate

For many years now the advice, for cardiac health, has been to avoid dietary cholesterol and to follow a low-fat diet. As is the way with nutrition this thinking has recently been turned on its head. A succession of studies has shown that dietary cholesterol actually plays a small part in the levels of blood serum cholesterol and that the bigger issue comes from carbohydrates and their impact on insulin levels.

It is now known that a diet high in fat but, crucially, low in carbohydrates can result in lower levels of triglycerides, higher levels of HDL and bigger particle sizes of LDL (a good thing).

Top 3 ways to get Heart-Healthy

  1. Reduce those carbohydrates. It isn’t necessarily just the simple carbohydrates such as sweets, sodas, processed breads and pastas that are the culprit either. If your normal daily intake is a carb-heavy breakfast, a carb-heavy lunch and a carb-heavy dinner with carb-heavy snacks in-between make some major changes
  2. Increase soluble fibre. Due to its ability to bind to cholesterol for excretion, many studies have shown this to be effective in lowering LDL levels. This can be found in oats, beans, and fruits such as apples, oranges and passion fruit. Sometimes low carbohydrate eating patterns can result in constipation, in which case supplementing with another soluble fibre, psyllium husks, can help. Avocados are high fat, low carbohydrate and a good source of soluble fibre.
  3. Look after your liver. Not only does it synthesise cholesterol but it also works to clear LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream. The liver and gallbladder both benefit from a non-low-fat diet, getting plenty of brassicas in your 7-a-day and ensuring you’re not overloading it by bringing in lots of other toxins for it to process such as alcohol, smoking and drugs.

Setting the Mood

Make your Valentine’s Day heart-healthy by ditching the chocolates and making your lover a loving meal instead. Prawn cocktail, Egg Béarnaise (just ditch the muffins!) and fried salmon and asparagus anyone?

Call us! We love heart-to-hearts!

If the mainstay of your diet is carbohydrates of any form (no matter how wholegrain and unrefined) with little protein and neurotic amounts of fat, and you find that your cholesterol levels are creeping up then contact This Life Nutrition. Friendly and approachable advice as to how to reverse that process.

By Saffron Rogerson

08 February 2016