Even if you don’t have issues with your cholesterol ( you never know, as you don’t feel it ), I am sure you have been hearing about it from relatives, friends or reading about it in the press. Many people consider cholesterol to be a bad thing but in fact it is a ‘fatty, waxy substance essential for life’ and in the recently published book ‘Eat your way to lower cholesterol’ from one of UK’s leading nutritionists Ian Marber and Dr Laura Corr ( consultant cardiologist at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals ) with recipes from dietician Dr Sarah Schenker they try to de-mystify the subject, as well as provide you with a nutritional template that will help you keep yours, hopefully, in-check.
Many people are predisposed to having higher cholesterol, in part because of their ethnicity ( Russians, for example are prone to have higher cholesterol in general because of the national diet of rich & fatty foods like meat, milk products & bread ), sometimes because of certain medical conditions that they have and often because of the food they eat day in, day out but I think the secret is not to get apprehensive but learn in more detail about the subject in order to have effective tools at your disposal. According to the above mentioned book’s introduction ‘Cholesterol is in the wall of all the cells in the body, insulates our nerves fibres and is also needed to make sex and stress hormones. Most cholesterol in the blood is made by our own body, particularly by the liver, which can in fact make cholesterol from almost any food you eat’. The emphasis in this book is not on the foods you should be excluding from your diet, if you are prone to high cholesterol levels ( a little bit more on this is below ) but on the research and evidence that certain foods in our daily diets will help you protect yourself from heart disease and strokes. According to research on which this book is based ‘eating specific foods can not only lower cholesterol levels but also have wider-ranging benefits for heart health’.
Did you know that in order for cholesterol to be easily transported in the bloodstream our livers coat it in proteins and usually it is those tiny balls of fat that are referred to in conversations about cholesterol. When you get a blood test done, usually the doctor looks at LDL ( low-density lipoprotein ) and HDL ( high-density lipoprotein ) and it is the latter, which main function is to clear away excess LDL from our blood stream that you need to have more of and pay attention to.
The book guides you through six main foods that help the body reduce cholesterol ( fibre, healthy oils, soya, nuts, oats as well as the so-called ‘smart foods’, including stanols & sterols, as well as the easy to follow recipes that will help introduce delicious variety to your breakfasts, lunches, suppers and snacks.
How about Yoghurt with almonds, honey and watermelon for breakfast?
Or Feta & pomegranate couscous with almonds for lunch?
And Salmon & broccoli penne for dinner?
If you have a sweet tooth you might want to try Strawberry Frozen yogurt with pistachios for dessert or when hosting a dinner party.
In essence this book it’s not going to tell you what not to do and what not to eat ( you can rely on the GP’s fact sheets to do just that ). Quite the opposite, without preaching or finger-pointing, you will learn about foods that will tempt your taste buds and help you body work more efficiently at clearing away cholesterol from your body. Nutrition is not about banning things but choosing foods that will enhance your long-term health & wellbeing and help you look beautifully nourished and energetic irrespective of your age & gender.
‘Eat your way to lower cholesterol’ ( recipes to reduce cholesterol by up to 20% in under three months ) by Ian Marber & Dr Laura Corr, Orion Books, £16.99