Product Type: Benecol Spread
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Benecol Light Spread -Part of The Troops At War With Cholesterol!
Benecol Light Spread
Member Name: Machair1
Benecol Light Spread
Advantages: Lowers Cholesterol
Disadvantages: Can't bake or fry with this one but others in the range are suitable.
I have a dreadful family history of heart disease. Of my first cousins 2 had heart bypasses by the time they were 50, and another has had several heart attacks. Both my grandfathers died young from strokes so it is a worry. I am sure I am not alone in this.
However, I am still of the opinion that we should all be enjoying life without becoming obsessed with not eating this or that, because in recent years we have been flooded with health advice which I actually think has made people even more of the opinion that it is time to let go and really enjoy food. My grandmother lived to 102 years old on a diet of butter and cheese and never spent a moment of those years worrying about her diet.
So where I am now as a nurse, and also as a person, is that we should try to meet half way with the concept of self preservation, but also with the essence of enjoying life without becoming obsessed with diet to the point of misery.
With this in mind but with the ever growing number of cases of heart disease in the United Kingdom is there anything we can do without really trying?
I believe there is in the form of a spread called Benecol.
You may not be aware that until recently Finland had the highest number of deaths from heart disease in Europe. These deaths were due in part to the diet which had a strong bias towards high fat dairy foods. This terrible situation was addressed by the Government who have now through a programme of heath education and the introduction of Benecol reduced the figures by 75%. It has been so successful that recently a team of experts from Merseyside have gone over to Finland to find out how they can import some of these successful protocols in their plans to help to reduce the death rate from heart disease in their area.
I must also say that heart disease is not just a question of high cholesterol. Indeed it is possible to have high cholesterol and be at low risk of heart disease. There are so many factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, family history and being diabetic which influence your chances as well as being a regular consumer of fry ups and donuts.
But with 2 out of 3 of us having higher than the ideal levels it may be prudent to take measures to help control it.
To do this you can reduce your levels by methods such as eating less saturated fats such as red meat, high fat cheeses, eggs, butter and so on, and to incorporate cholesterol lowering foods such as oats and Benecol.
Benecol is a product made from Plant Stenols and to understand what it is and how it works you need to understand a little about cholesterol.
Firstly it is a waxy substance which is found in the body. It arrives there in one of two ways, either by eating it or because it is produced in the liver. It is actually a very essential ingredient used in the production of hormones and to insulate nerves. However too much can be harmful.
There is a second twist in that there are two types- good and bad. This is determined as the cholesterol is carried around by lipoproteins of which there are two types HDL and LDL. Good cholesterol is called HDL and this mops up the excess like a little Hoover and takes it back to the liver to be broken down, and bad LDL which transports cholesterol from the liver to where it is needed but drops off the excess which then clogs up the arteries.
An ideal cholesterol measurement is less than 5 with a LDL of less than 3 and HDL of less than 1.5- you can get this checked at your GP surgery or in a pharmacy. If you do remember though that it has to be looked at with all your other risk factors- just because it is high does not mean you will be at risk this afternoon. For some knowing these numbers just worries them and so by eating Benecol anyway and doing all the right things you can at least lessen your chances whether or not you choose to go for screening. Just one point there are a small number of people who have a genetic disease which predisposes them to a very high level of cholesterol and these people will have to go on drug treatment for life. For the majority of us though we don't.
So what is Benecol and how does it work?
It is made from Plant Stanols which when eaten block bad cholesterol from entering the blood stream. Plant Stanols occur naturally in corn, wheat, rye and other plants such as pine trees. Benecol is made from Plant Stenols which are blended with rapeseed oils to create Plant Stenol Ester. This is then added to foods and it does not taste of anything too strongly so you shouldn't notice it!
If eaten for 3 weeks you should expect to see a drop in bad cholesterol of 14%. This review is about the margarine but they also make cheeses, milk, yogurt and yogurt drinks.
The margarine is quiet palatable and if you get into the habit of using it daily it makes a lot of difference.To get the benefit of the cholesterol lowering you need to eat three servings a day but you can mix and match the products. You can find the margarine in the chiller cabinet with all the other spreads and it usually has a blue package. It was £3.68 for 500 g when I checked today on My Supermarket.com in Ocado, Tesco and Sainsbury's but was £3.88 at Asda.
Benecol light is the one to buy if you are watching your weight as it has the fewest calories and it tastes very good. There is also a buttery one and one made from olives. You need to make sure you eat 12g per serving and then add in 2 portions of the yogurts or cream cheese to make the total. You can bake with all the spreads but not sadly with the light version. I actually bought the light spread by accident and discovered it isn't vegetarian as it contains gelatine so sadly couldn't make use of it myself but it is ideal for weight watchers. I did try it though before I read the small print so would say this is my criticism as why does a spread have to contain meat?
I actually buy these spreads regularly and enjoy the taste and find it has become a habit. I think as long as you also remember it is only part of the war against cholesterol then you can be relaxed about it
Also remember to reduce heart disease you need to
Watch your weight
Eats lots of fibre like oats and cereals
Take some exercise though not necessarily a gym,walking is fine.
Eats lots of fruit and vegetables
Get your blood pressure checked and ask for a diabetes check too.( if you don't fancy a GP visit you can do this yourself by buying Clinistix from the chemist and just testing your urine once a year for sugar. There shouldn't be any. Lots of people are diabetic and don't know it and this predisposes to heart disease. )
Eat less salt and sugar
Drink 2 lites of water daily.
Keep stress to a minimum and have lots of rest.
Eat oily fish if you are not vegetarian and nuts
Try to stop smoking.
So I hope you will try the spread -I like it but I do still have butter and cheese in my fridge- after all they are enjoyable and life is also for living.
Summary: Part of the War On Cholesterol
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