Mary McFadden, Mary Joyce and Bridie King at a recent IPC Lunch.
Angela Durkin volunteer at the IPC's Cafe Eireann with Catherine Moloney prior to her departure.

Healthy Heart

Angela Durkin volunteer at the IPC's Cafe Eireann with Catherine Moloney prior to her departure.
Mary McFadden, Mary Joyce and Bridie King at a recent IPC Lunch.What do images of coconuts, olives and avocados bring to mind?

Lazy days by a pool in the Caribbean, swimming in the Mediterranean, sipping cocktails whilst nibbling on salsa verde!

Yes, all of the above is true, however what doesn’t come to mind is the unattractive element associated with these fruits. This all came to light in a conversation with a friend of mine, the picture of healthy living who had just discovered that she has high cholesterol.

Having paid scant attention to the buzz a few years ago about cholesterol warnings and prevention I was thrown back a notch. So time now for a refresher course, not to get complacent about simple things that can keep us / me healthier a little longer.

Whether you have high cholesterol or not, you need to know what cholesterol is and what you can do to help control it. Why? Because high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for coronary heat disease and stroke. Keeping cholesterol levels under control is an important for everyone.

Cholesterol is a soft, fat like substance found in the bloodstream and in all your body’s cells. It is used to form cell membranes, some hormones and is needed for other important functions. Your body usually makes about 1,000 milligrams of cholesterol a day, mostly in the liver. Another 100- 500 mg or more can come directly from foods. Typically the liver makes all the cholesterol the body needs, so people don’t need to eat it.

So the Question is …. How often should I have mine checked?

High cholesterol has no symptoms. It’s easy to have it and not know. Knowing your level can help you take steps to prevent a heart attack or stroke if you are at high risk. Everyone age 20 or older should have their cholesterol measured at least once every 5 years.

So what should I do to maintain a low cholesterol level? The American Heart Foundation recommends:
· Choosing lean meats and poultry without skin, preparing without added saturated fat and trans fat.
· Using cuts of red meat and pork labeled loin and round; have the least amount of fat.
· Cutting back on processed meats such as salami, bologna, hot dogs etc as they are high in saturated fat and sodium.
· Picking fat free or 1% low fat dairy (an acquired taste I know that!)
· Going easy on the eggs (especially yolks), cooked liver (organ meats) and whole milk.
· Eating some fish, salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna.

· Fruits, vegetables, grains and beans as they tend to be low in fat and have no cholesterol.
(Coconuts, olives and avocados are exceptions. Coconuts are high in saturated fat, olives and avocados are high in monounsaturated fat and calories.

Some simple steps to help you reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, to learn more of course check in with your PCPor call toll free to 1-800 242 8721 ( American Heart Association).

Reminder: Cara Club resumes on Monday September 10th and Café Eireann resumes on Wednesday September 5th.