Don’t get deceived by the externals - GulfToday

Don’t get deceived by the externals

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

Singa-Food

If you have insufficient Vitamin D in your body take in the sun for about 10 to 15 minutes a day every day.

Birjees Hussain

Sometimes it’s absolutely imperative to go and have yourself checked out. It doesn’t matter if you do not exhibit symptoms of anything. Even if you feel 100 per cent well you should still have yourself checked out. Recently a British television journalist was diagnosed with colon cancer even though he felt absolutely fine and showed no sign or symptoms. The only reason it was discovered was because he went and had his annual physical.

To people around you, you may appear perfectly healthy and exhibit no signs or symptoms of ill health. This applies not just to certain types of cancers but every day and fairly common conditions too. As you may already be aware, in some people some ailments have no symptoms and the person feels fine. Case in point is hypertension and high cholesterol.

This brings me onto something I might have mentioned quite some time ago in a previous column. A gigantic misconception ruled the way we viewed health concerns, particularly in certain parts of the world. Whereas in Western cultures being slim, even excessively so, was considered beautiful, until health advocates rightly put a stop to skinny skeletal like catwalk models. In other parts of the world it is still actually quite the opposite. Whist this may be a superficial opinion and still ingrained in some people’s minds, there is a much deeper consequence that is not very well known by the general public. It’s a more recent discovery and has a profound effect on the way people view their health.

Did you know that even if you are overweight or weigh too much for your height, your total cholesterol levels, particularly your bad cholesterol, also known as your LDL, may be normal? I did not. Moreover, did you also know that if your weight is normal, or even if you are considered underweight for your height and age, you may still have high cholesterol issues? I did not to my cost. The latter category of people are known as SOFI, skinny on the outside and fat on the inside. It turns out that cholesterol is non-discriminatory.

It’s alarming because, people who think they’re healthy may not be. I learned in the last couple of weeks that high cholesterol may be due to a number of factors, even though a fair amount of it is produced by the liver. Firstly, eating foods that are high in the wrong types of fats. Another factor is not eating enough fibre. The third is not getting enough exercise every day. The fourth is having very low levels of vitamin D in your body. And the fifth is something that is a little bit out of your control and that is genetics. Apparently, if you have a member of your family who has high cholesterol, you may also get it even if you eat perfectly, as I discovered to my cost.

Two things that I think you can do immediately, especially when you’re part of a big family where eating habits and tastes are already ingrained. If you have insufficient Vitamin D in your body take in the sun for about 10 to 15 minutes a day every day. You don’t have to expose your entire body. Exposing your forearms should do the trick. Another thing you certainly must do is exercise. A brisk walk for about half an hour a day should be sufficient. Now we know that it can get very hot here in the summer making it tough to walk outside. Not all of us have access to a gym or a shopping mall. But what we do have access is walking or running on the spot at home.

Don’t be disheartened if you learn that your cholesterol issue could be genetic. Try to change your entire family’s lifestyle but slowly. For example I don’t think the rest of the family would appreciate it if you suddenly started cooking brown rice every day for evening meals. Maybe make it twice a week. Have fish and chicken more often and if you do like your red meats, then make sure it’s lean.

Eating foods with good nutrients is difficult, I know. It can be expensive and not everyone in the family will be on board with eating more salads and less carbohydrates likes white rice, white pasta and potatoes. Now I’m not saying that one should completely cut these out of one’s diet but portion control is important. There will be instances when the person who cooks in the house will continue to cook the usual foods. What then happens the person with the cholesterol issue ends up avoiding meals thereby causing their liver to produce more cholesterol. Do not avoid the meal. Eat it but with portion control. Good luck.