Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cholesterol drug for men over 50

Today's Cuppa: Olive leaf tea

I couldn't believe it when I heard a news report the other week saying the government want all men over fifty to have a drug to reduce cholesterol. One more way of controlling the masses? You'd better believe it! Can we honestly trust any drug or vaccine? Call me a sceptic, but where there is money to be made… And let's face it, the cholesterol drug is the highest earning drug of all time, so why wouldn't our mates at Downing Street want to make it mandatory?

As someone married to a man over 50, there's no way I'd *LET* him buy into this rubbish! Doctors usually recommend drugs to balance cholesterol. BUT WHY? Nature adequately provides stanols in foods like olive oil, tomatoes, apples and almonds. Tragically, many, many thousands of men will heed this government suggestion/fear-based warning and take the drug. It strikes me as unethical, if not financially greedy, to offer this solution to the masses, rather than educating them about better health.

Cholesterol is a lifestyle dis-ease. Change the lifestyle, don't cover it up with a band-aid like a drug. What's the point? The stresses will only find another route through which to get your attention.

There are three key factors with cholesterol ~ diet, exercise and stress levels. In order to lower cholesterol it's important not to have a lot of animal fat (including butter, cheese and eggs). It's usually found that vegetarians and vegans have lower cholesterol levels ~ providing they're not living of Macdonald's cheese burgers!! If you're serious about reducing cholesterol, cut out all animal products.

Cholesterol is produced mostly by the liver. You can cleanse the liver by drinking nettle and dandelion tea alternatively. A herb tincture of Milk Thistle and/or artichoke is particularly helpful. Use olive oil instead of butter.

Omega 3 oil has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol and protect the heart against heart disease. This is best consumed from algae oil or flaxseed oil ~ studies from King's College, London, show that it is more easily absorbed than fish oil (more ethical too).
*Hemp oil is brilliant. Include it 'raw' in your salad dressings, or have it in a smoothie. Try and include it in your diet at least three times a week. It's simple to use…a few tablespoons mixed with a large spoon of apple cyder vinegar, a spoon of agave syrup or honey, a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard, a crushed garlic clove, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs and you've a great salad dressing!

*Also add high fibre foods such as beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables as they soak up the cholesterol. These should be part of a healthy lifestyle anyway!
*You can also include psyllium hulls, apple fibre and oat bran. If everyone ate a couple of apples a day their whole digestive system would benefit enormously. They act like a vacuum cleaner along the intestinal tract.
* Olive leaf tea is very effective.
* Numerous studies worldwide show that raw garlic is brilliant in lowering cholesterol.
* Red yeast rice has been found to lower cholesterol.

Exercise is vital ~ 45 minutes - 60 minutes daily. This can be brisk walking, rebounding, swimming…anything that gets the heart working.
It's important to find an exercise you love so that you stick with it. I'm always astonished by the number of people who say their lifestyle is too busy to include exercise. We're a long time dead ~ make time to move! If you've got time to watch Big Brother, you've got time to exercise.

Personally, I find my daily 3 mile walk as beneficial to my mind as to my physical health. It's my time out away from everything.

Stress management

There are various ways to balance/reduce stress. Exercise is a great start. Meditation; finding ways to have 'alone' time where nothing matters; going to bed early, a long bath WITHOUT kids alongside!

Sometimes, especially as busy parents, we have to get creative in how we find time and space for ourselves.

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