I am so thankful that after three years I can still pass my Christmas in Italy with my family. Lots of things have changed, people do different things, some with family and others by themselves travelling a bit more. There is still a lot more fears attached to Covid than in other places, and any new news about it becomes an extra worry. In pharmacies people still wear a mask and you feel like the odd out if you don’t. There was a new strain of flu going around and young and older people felt worse than ever with it. This is due to the immune system not being challenged for 3 years. My parents, even in their old age are always worried about lack of food, so they buy more than they will ever eat in one week, and they love to plant seasonal vegetables, even in big pots. When they were given big pots as a gift, they were so happy that they can manage to plant their seasonal vegetables without much effort, as the planting them on the land would be too much for them.
They try their best not to take extra medication that they can avoid, even though they might take some that are essential. Both my parents were tested high for cholesterol last year, and of course, they were given by their GP the usual medication to lower it. They both did not react well with it, and I mentioned to try to see if with Benecol, as I knew that it would work, would go down enough for the doctors to be ok with it. I also suggested to take fish oil in capsules for both of them, for two reasons, one for the brain, and the other to reduce tri-glycerides, which again they both had a bit high. They have been taking it since the summer, and I asked if their cholesterol was low. They said they were so happy with it, as the cholesterol got down so much, as well as the tri-glycerides, with the fish oil. To be fair the doctor in Italy did suggest the fish oil for that too, which is good. They have not told the doctor about the Benecol though and the reason for being lower. My mum had a heart operation 6 years ago so she had to have a lower cholesterol.
The main ingredients that is beneficial to reduce cholesterol in Benecol is plant sterol ester, and I would not agree with all the ingredients in Benecol, but for people, like my parents that would rather have a food that keep taking pills, this is the 2nd best option.
The best one is to take plant sterol and phytosterol in capsule as well as combining the dietary changes. My parents do eat their own seasonal vegetables, and fennel, endive and salads, as well as broccoli, chicory, and broccoletti (found in Italy but not England), are part of their stable diet, as well as beans, lentils and fruits. Green leafy vegetables, sage, nuts contain plant sterols as well as the food above.
We were so fortunate to have my mum make us freshly squeezed orange juice every morning, that is because a couple of kilos of oranges would cost two Euros, compared to 2 pounds for a pack of 5 oranges here. They would also eat good nuts such as pecans and walnuts as snacks, which would help with having higher good fats as well. At their age, they eat less meat and hard cheese, due to my insistence, less frying and more oven baked food, as well as using only olive oil if any food needs to be cooked. Using their own olive oil from their own olive tree only raw with salads and food.
If you do have high cholesterol and high tri-glycerides, you need to consider the entire life style change as well, to make the most of it and get things sorted out for good, and that would include walking 30 minutes, twice a day, to keep your circulation going and keep your heart pumping well.
Some of the plant sterols in supplements might cost as much as the Benecol, so maybe worth getting that instead and you get more for them, like a monthly supply. Fish oil with high EPA and DHA, again get a good brand as that would still be worth it, and even if you eat fish, you might not get enough from a couple of times that you eat it a week. At least you can get the plant sterols and fish oil till your tests come back normal and then keep going with the dietary changes and walking to keep it stable, and maybe just get the Benecol every now and then to keep it down.
© Maria Esposito BSc (Hons) R-Nutritional Therapist – NAET for allergies – R-Craniosacral Therapist – NLP – Angel Guide Certified – Mindfulness Meditation teacher- Resilient heart (heart-Math