Our expert says:
Because you suffer from two medical conditions, I would recommend that you should consult a registered dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: www.adsa.org.za and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area). The dietitian will have to work out an individual diets prescription for you that takes both these conditions into account, as well as any medications you may be taking and other individual factors. In the meanwhile it may help if you read up on 'Diet & Nutrition' about these conditions. To lower your cholesterol levels basically you will have to eat a diet that is low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and high in dietary fibre and protective nutrients - this entails eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, low-fat milk and dairy products, very lean meat, fish, only 4 eggs per week and only mono- or polyunsaturated margarine or oil (this is where you can use olive oil in normal quantities). Click on 'Diet' and 'Weight loss' and 'Slimming Diet' for a copy of a low-fat, high-fibre diet - if you don't need to lose any weight you can use larger portions of the permitted foods, but should otherwise stick to the portion sizes. You need to check the foods you buy in the supermarket - compare the total fat content of say standard Vienna sausages and that of Low-fat or Lean Viennas - if the latter still contain more than 3g of fat per 100g, then it is better to avoid them. Rather use less processed food, e.g. cook chicken without skin and without added fat (grill or boil in a stew), to have greater control of the fat content than when you eat processed foods. You can also use omega-3 fatty acids (Salmon oil capsules - buy at chemist) to reduce blood cholesterol and try Flora pro-activ which contains plant sterols to lower blood cholesterol (most supermarkets sell this type of margarine). For additional articles, click on 'Diet & Nutrition' and 'You are what you eat' and read the 'Healthy Heart' section.
As regards gastric reflux: Heartburn, acid reflux and also stomach ulcers, are caused by excess acid production in the stomach and if the patient has food in the stomach this give the acid something it can work on instead of attacking the stomach lining. In fact, the use of 6 smaller meals a day is a good idea when suffering from reflux because this would mean that the patient practically always has some food in her stomach to prevent acid erosion. You should try to split up your main meals into 2 smaller meals each. If you suffer from reflux, you will have to experiment with the foods you eat that may cause problems (raw onions, garlic, cucumber, green peppers, very spicy foods and condiments, gas-cold drinks, very fatty foods, etc and all alcohol). This is often an individual reaction and you will have to keep a food diary to see what foods cause this problem and then cut them out. As mentioned above, a dietitian will assist you to pinpoint the trigger foods that aggravate your reflux and also ensure that the diet you eat does not contribute to your raised cholesterol levels.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal
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