- The clever trick you can do in September to fix your health
- Why the time to do this is now
- Here’s a way to get your heart in better shape
Well, well, well… it’s September!
Autumn is my favourite time of the year – mainly the bit from now until the clocks change on 27th October.
I love the fresher bite of the air… the mulchy scents of the countryside…
And the fact that you can go to shops, parks and swimming pools during the daytime without them being rammed full of kids (sorry if I sound like a grumpy old man!).
There’s also something else I like about September.
It’s a really good time to make some important changes in your life.
See, a lot of people tend to wait until New Year’s Eve to start new diets, take up exercise, begin a new hobby, or solve a life niggle.
But at that time of year you’re in the thick of cold, dark winter. The days are short. You’ve less time to be out and about. Sometimes you need treats to keep you going. It can be a slog to make big changes at that time of the year.
I think most people make New Year’s Eve resolutions driven by festive guilt about overindulgence, which is why they tend to start well in January but run out of steam by February when they’re fed up.
So really, NOW is the best time to make some changes while you’re doing it for the right reasons.
The holidays are out of the way, the kids are back at school, and you’ve still got light evenings to give you a mental lift.
Here’s a way to get your heart in better shape this autumn
Without the temptation of those summer treats you might eat on holiday (ice cream, fish and chips, pizzas) you can now put a good dietary plan in place.
It’s a good time of year for oily fish like whitebait (packed with healthy omega-3 fats), while things like strawberries and blackberries are still in season.
Then you’ve got good, locally grown butternut squash, savoy cabbage, cauliflower and celery. Plenty of greens to add to your dishes.
With the nights still reasonably light, you have time to go on walks, go running, take a late swim or play tennis after work.
And thanks to cooler temperatures, you’ve got more chance of a decent sleep, which reduces stress and fatigue.
With a good, balanced, seasonal diet PLUS exercise, better sleep and less stress you could boost your heart health before the temptations of December rear their fatty heads.
Perhaps I am not alone in my thinking, which could be why next month is ‘National Cholesterol Awareness Month’, a health campaign run by a charity called Heart UK.
They say: “Making simple changes to the food you eat and being more active can help lower your cholesterol, lowering your risk of illness.”
And this is true enough.
On their website they offer advice about cholesterol lowering foods, which you’ll have read about in these letters, including omega 3-rich fishes and oils.
In terms of medication they talk about statins and ezetimibe but there’s no mention of any natural remedies other than the six ‘superfoods’.
As you know, there are natural ‘cholesterol lowering’ foods like Bergamot fruits that are highly effective – as effective as statins in some cases – you can read about that here.
And back in 2016 I wrote an issue of this newsletter about a study into red rice yeast.
After just four weeks of taking it twice daily, the subjects showed a 17% reduction in total cholesterol levels, a 24.6% reduction in LDL-cholesterol, a 19.8% decrease in triglycerides, and a 12.8% increase in HDL-cholesterol. This put it on a par with leading statin drugs!
Again, it’s rare you see mention of these alternatives in mainstream advice.
There are also superior ways to get omega-3s than fish oils when you try an alternative like krill oil, which I mentioned last week (more about that here).
I’ve noticed something else about the National Cholesterol Awareness campaign too…
I think it’s time to stop simplifying ‘evil’ LDL
They’re still perpetuating the concept of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol.
It’s not that this is completely wrong. It is a useful thing to distinguish between LDL and HDL cholesterol, of course, and the public should understand that cholesterol isn’t one ‘bad’ thing that needs eradicating.
But it makes it sound like LDL is some kind of evil enemy that, when vanquished, will save your heart and that isn’t quite the case.
As I pointed out in the Good Life Letter on 26th August, a build-up of LDL puts you at a higher risk of heart attack, but it’s not the LDL cholesterol itself that’s the bad guy.
That LDL cholesterol is being used to patch up problems that come from other underlying health issues like high blood pressure, stress and chronic inﬂammation.
It’s a sign for a bad thing, not a bad thing in itself.
I’ll be giving you some more advice on solving the underlying problems behind poor heart health in the next month or so. More of which next week!
Before that, I’ll be back on Sunday with something that might interest you if you’re worried about your vision or straining to read this email.
You’ll discover why it isn’t always true that your eyes get worse with age…
Yours, as always,