There are many risk factors to heart health and it’s important to take care of all of them. But to manage your cholesterol, the first step is to know your numbers, so you can take control of your heart health.
To manage your cholesterol, a combination of simple changes is best. Flora ProActiv contain plant sterols that are clinically proven to actively lower cholesterol by 10-15% in just 3 weeks, when also moving to a healthy diet and lifestyle. With a range of products and recipes to suite every palate, including Flora ProActiv in your diet is an easy step in moving to a healthier diet. A healthy diet, healthy lifestyle and exercise are all important factors too.
Tip #1 - Eat a balanced diet
What is a balanced diet?
There are a number of steps to a balanced diet. It should include a variety of foods from the following groups:
Fruit-Aim to eat two serves of fruit each day. This can be fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit.
Vegetables–Aim to eat at least three serves of vegetables and legumes each day. An example of 1 serve is ½ a cup of cooked vegetables or legumes, ½ 1 cup of salad, 1 tomato or 1 medium potato or sweet potato.
Breads, Cereals, Rice, Pasta & Noodles–Choose wholegrain varieties more often, like wholegrain cereal, multigrain bread and brown rice and pasta.
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Nuts–This food group provides protein for growth. Choose lean cuts of meat, trimmed of all visible fat and skinless chicken.
Dairy–Reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese are recommended for everyone over the age of 2 years.
Fats and Oils–Choose oils like sunflower, canola and olive oils and margarine spreads made from them, as these contain good fats.
If you need to make some changes to your diet, it’s easier than you think. Some simple swaps can make a big difference. Swap your white bread sandwich for a wholemeal or wholegrain one, choose a wholegrain breakfast cereal, swap your full cream coffee for a reduced-fat one, snack on plain popcorn and unsalted nuts instead of chips, add an extra serve of veggies to your dinner plate and swap butter for margarine spreads such as Flora. Also try to cut down on added sugar and watch the salt.
Eat more good fats
People often cut out fat due to the energy it contains. But fat is important to include in your diet every day. Try to ensure you eat more of the ‘good’ fats than the ‘bad’ fats. ‘Good’ fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and are ‘good’ because they can help to lower cholesterol. ‘Bad’ fats are saturated and trans fats. They are ‘bad’ because they may increase cholesterol.
You need to eat less of the ‘bad’ fats and replace them with ‘good fats to help keep your heart healthy.
TYPE OF FAT MAIN SOURCES
||Vegetable oils and spreads made from them e.g. sunflower, corn, soya. Nuts and seeds.
|Omega 3 from plants
||Canola, linseed (flaxseed), soya oils. Walnuts and walnut oil and dark green vegetables.
|Omega 3 from fish
||Oily fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines and tuna.
||Vegetable oils and spreads made from them e.g. olive and canola. Some nuts, olives and avocado.
||Animal products such as fatty meat, processed meats, butter, full-fat dairy products, coconut and palm oil, commercially-made cakes, pastries, pies and snack products.
||Naturally present in fatty meat, full-fat dairy products and butter. Also produced industrially by the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils used in commercially-made cakes, pastries, pies and snack products and in some deep-fried fast food and takeaways.
Increase your intake of plant sterols
Plant sterols are found naturally in small quantities in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, grain products, fruit and vegetables. Flora ProActiv is enriched with plant sterols.
Although we all eat plant sterols every day in our diet, the amount we eat is typically not enough to have an effect in lowering cholesterol.
How do they lower cholesterol?
Plant sterols are an active ingredient clinically proven to significantly reduce cholesterol from food. They also prevent the re-absorption of cholesterol within the body. The cholesterol that isn’t absorbed is removed from the body. As a result, less cholesterol circulates in our system.
How much do I need?
Guidelines for cholesterol management recommend consuming 2-3g of plant sterols per day from plant sterol-enriched foods.
Simply by consuming 25g (one rounded tablespoon, containing 2g of plant sterols) of Flora ProActiv every day as part of a healthy diet can lower your cholesterol in as little as three weeks. Keep using Flora ProActiv to help keep cholesterol down as part of a healthy lifestyle. Consuming more than 3g of plant sterols per day does not provide additional benefits.
Tip #2 - Aim to be a healthy weight and shape
You can check whether your current weight or body shape is likely to affect your health, by working out your Body Mass Index (BMI) and checking your waist size.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
This is based on your height and weight and can be worked out by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres (squared); that is BMI = weight÷(height)2.
For example, if you’re 1.75 metres tall and weigh 73 kilos, then the formula would read BMI = 73÷1.752 which equals 23.84 and is in the healthy range. A BMI of 18.5-25 is considered in the healthy range. You are at increased risk of health problems if your BMI is over 30.
Waist circumference is thought another good health indicator - you just need to find out whether you're an apple or a pear!
If you’ve got excess weight around your middle, you’re 'apple-shaped', and if you carry that weight on your hips you’re a ‘pear’. Studies have shown that people who are ‘apples’ could face greater heart health risks people who are than ‘pears’ - so if you're 'apple-shaped' it's even more important to manage for your heart health.
You can find out whether you’re an apple or a pear by measuring your waist size. Just find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips, and measure round your middle at a point half way between them (for many people this will be over their belly button)
||Greater than 94cm (37 inches)
||Greater than 80cm (31.5 inches)
||Greater than 102 cm (40 inches)
||Greater than 88cm (34.5 inches)
For more information on waist measurement, visit http://www.measureup.gov.au/
Slim slowly but surely
It is better to lose weight slowly. Set a goal to lose 5–10% of your current weight over six months and aim to lose a healthy 0.5–1kg per week. Remember, exercise and a healthy diet are essential for weight loss.
Tip #3 - Mind your blood pressure
It is advisable to get your blood pressure checked by your GP regularly. This is because high blood pressure can be bad for your heart and cardiovascular system, but often does not produce any symptoms.
Tip #4 - Watch your alcohol intake
Some of us enjoy the occasional drink – one of life’s pleasures! Drinking alcohol within limits can be enjoyable, but too much can be bad news for your health.
The National Health and Medical Research Council recommend that adults’ men and women, who choose to drink, should limit the amount to no more than two standard drinks per day. One standard drink of alcohol is about equal to 10g alcohol which can be found in: Half a pint (285mL) of ordinary strength beer, lager, or cider (5% alcohol by volume), or A 100mL standard serve of white or red wine (around 12% alcohol by volume) A small nip (30 mL) of spirits (40% alcohol by volume), or A standard pub measure (60 ml) of fortified wine such as sherry or port (17.5% alcohol by volume).
There are one and a half standard drinks in: A restaurant glass (150 mL) of ordinary strength wine (12% alcohol by volume), or a schooner (425mL) of beer (5% alcohol by volume)
For more information visit http://www.alcohol.gov.au/
If you drink alcohol, drink it in moderation – between one and two units a day. Remember, if you’re watching your weight the calorific content of alcoholic drinks may work against you.
Tip #5 - Manage your stress
Too much stress is not good for heart health. Whether its anxiety, panic or feeling under pressure from demands at work or at home, it’s important to create coping mechanisms. Here are some ideas
Recognise what triggers your stress and try to relax
Exercise. Gentle cycling, brisk walking or swimming help relieve tension
Make time to socialise and talk to your friends
Take time to unwind; read, have a bath or do something you enjoy. At work, be sure to break for lunch
Try yoga or relaxation classes