Thursday, June 26, 2008

You are what you Eat

The old adage never sounded this omnimous. Today, I was presented with lab results of my blood sample from two weeks before. The doctor's comments were all too familiar sounding: "Look fit and healthy... must watch what you eat..." "Can consider starting on medication... Have time on your side..." "Avoid anything finger-licking good". Yes, the fats.. er, facts are in: My cholesterol level remains High. For comparison, here are some figures from Singapore Heart Foundation:

My recent(June'08) blood lipid profile read:
HDL: 1.27 (49)
Total: 7.21 (278)
My LDL from Nov'05: 5.14 (199)

Generally speaking, LDL is "bad" cholesterol that can cause heart disease by clogging arteries. HDL is "good" cholesterol that "cleanses" arteries by transporting fat and LDL deposits back to the liver for breakdown. Read this for more insight on cholesterol.

My total cholesterol hasn't got any better since I first got it checked back in Aug'03 when the reading was 6.45 (249). I am genetically predisposed to having high cholesterol as my father and a number of my paternal relatives are. I recently learnt that cholesterol is actually produced within our bodies; and that high cholesterol levels are actually influenced more through the consumption of "bad" fats rather than by dietary cholesterol(foods such as eye yolks, seafood) alone. (Both Sat-fat and Trans-fat raise LDL levels, but Trans-fat apparently packs a second punch by reducing HDL!) My problem is possibly due to a diet containing too much saturated/trans fat; and perhaps a genetically overactive liver producing more LDL than average as well.

Though I've been generally conscious about my food choices all along, I guess it's about time to really start monitoring what, when and how much I eat. (O_o)*Knowing-look from the girlfriend comes to mind* Fish/bean/soy protein over lean meats when I can help it. Fruits, eaten whole for added fibre. High-fibre carbo alternatives wholemeal bread, oats, brown rice, beans, sweet potato. Fat-reduced dairy products. Avoid food high in saturated fat(deep-fried, milky, creamy, buttery stuff) and trans fat(hydrogenated oils, shortening). Scrutinise "Nutrition Facts" on the packaging before purchasing/consuming processed foods. Exercise regularly. (Research suggests regular aerobic activity increases HDL levels!)

Must remain motivated to this cholesterol-lowering cause; lest I leave my loved-ones prematurely.
Accept the fact. Fight the fats.


Dominic. said...

Hey bro...

I realised that one very noticeable weakness that most Singaporeans have is towards food.

They'll do anything they want to get it, they think of it, they spend lots of time and energy to source for the good to speak.

But I'll like to 'throw' a question at you: how far are you willing to go with regards to your health?

Will being disciplined in your food intake apply EQUALLY during the festive seasons, parties, social gatherings, etc?

Hahaaa...just to let you know, I'm somewhat in it with you...I'm currently [1] fasting alternate dinners and [2] watching what I eat. These 2 I plan to do in, make it a lifestyle.

So, let's continue to press on in this! To honor God with our bodies by being discerning about what we take in.


WR @ David said...

Thanks for your thoughts bro. :)The results of our nutrition-control efforts will probably be evident only in the long run. But by then, it would have become a healthy practice and significant factor in disease prevention too. Let's keep it up~