Our expert says:
Please persuade your husband to firstly have a thorough medical checkup to see if the symptoms he is having are due to heart problems or not and also to check what his cholesterol levels, etc look like. This is the essential first step. He then needs to stop smoking and to consult a clinical psychologist to help him to control his stress more effectively. From a dietary point of view if your hubby's family suffers from high cholesterol, then he would need to lower his intakes of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. To lower his cholesterol levels basically he 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 he does not need to lose any weight he 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 5g 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. He 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' and 'You are what you eat' and read the 'Healthy Heart' section. If he requires a specific diet to be worked out for him, then I would recommend that he should consult a clinical 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). Regular physical exercise (running, jogging, skipping, cycling, swimming, join a gym or Walk for Life) for 30 or more minutes per day will also lower cholesterol, improve heart health and lower stress levels, but he should only exercise IF his doctor gives permission.
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