Here’s another practical post. It’s neither exotic nor extravagant but it’s of tantamount importance as we live longer and longer. As I sit here writing, less than eight weeks before the expected arrival of our second child at 43 (!) my thoughts turn to keeping healthy and making sure that my children have parents for a long time to come.
I eat porridge every day and I watch what I eat. I’m also pretty savvy when it comes to nutrition. Who isn’t these days? Ask a builder if he wants a biscuit and you are likely to get a ‘no, thanks, I’m watching my figure’! Mr PCG however hasn’t bought into healthy living all that well. He’s very busy with work and although a massive foodie, he hasn’t any interest in nutrition whatsoever. This doesn’t help much given that a few months ago, his blood test results came back with elevated cholesterol levels. Diet and exercise were prescribed. We needed something that would fit into his hectic lifestyle without any fuss.
It’s a well-know fact that oats should form part of a healthy diet. They contain something called beta-glucan, a soluble dietary fibre which stops re-absorption of LDL, the ‘bad’ cholesterol, into the bloodstream. 3g of beta-glucan a day can actually lower the cholesterol level in the body. Hence, my eating porridge every day! However, I’m not the one with the high cholesterol and Mr PCG doesn’t like porridge so it led me out looking for an alternative and one that didn’t involve medication. I also found whilst doing my research that a daily portion of porridge doesn’t provide the 3g of beta-glucan needed to lower cholesterol, rather just a good addition to a diet aiming to stay healthy.
Luckily, I came across something that Mr PCG liked and worked as well. Oatwell. It comes as a powder (which I am using to bake delicious, healthy muffins (mostly for pregnant over-eater- me!) and cakes, as well as a breakfast cereal in the form of Crispy Hearts which is what Mr PCG eats once a day either with milk or yogurt. There are also milkshakes in three flavours for lowering cholesterol on the go. There are few products on the market today that can actually claim to lower cholesterol . As per EU regulatory approval, Oat beta-glucan lowers the cholesterol level in the blood. The lowering of the blood cholesterol level can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The positive effects can be achieved through the intake of 3g of oat beta-glucan per day, the amount found in a serving of any of the OatWell™ products.
Some very simple but easily ignored guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation should also help;
1. Eat a nutritious diet based on a variety of foods originating mainly from plants, rather than animals.
2. Eat bread, grains, pasta, rice or potatoes several times per day.
3. Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits, preferably fresh and local, several times per day (at least 400 g per day).
4. Maintain body weight between the recommended limits (a BMI of 20–252) by taking moderate levels of physical activity, preferably daily.
5. Control fat intake (not more than 30% of daily energy) and replace most saturated fats with unsaturated vegetable oils or soft margarines.
6. Replace fatty meat and meat products with beans, legumes, lentils, fish, poultry or lean meat.
7. Use milk and dairy products (kefir, sour milk, yoghurt and cheese) that are low in both fat and salt.
8. Select foods that are low in sugar, and eat refined sugar sparingly, limiting the frequency of sugary drinks and sweets.
9. Choose a low-salt diet. Total salt intake should not be more than one teaspoon (6 g) per day, including the salt in bread and processed, cured and preserved foods.
10. If alcohol is consumed, limit intake to no more than 2 drinks (each containing 10 g of alcohol) per day.
11. Prepare food in a safe and hygienic way. Steam, bake, boil or microwave to help reduce the amount of added fat.
12. Promote exclusive breastfeeding and the introduction of safe and adequate complementary foods from the age of about 6 months, but not before 4 months, while breastfeeding continues during the first years of life.