As part of its ongoing mission to keep the world’s hearts healthier, and on the occasion of World Heart Day September 2008, Flora launched the Flora pro-activ 3 Week Challenge in Malta which was designed by health experts to test the effect on cholesterol levels when consuming Flora pro-activ products for the duration of three weeks as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Combined with a healthy diet and an exercise programme, the challenge aimed to help individuals with raised cholesterol levels to make positive changes in their lifestyles for good health and well being.
This initiative was offered to a group of Maltese people, who originally attended the World Heart Day seminars in October 2007, and had taken the free cholesterol test offered by Flora. Seven participants, two females and five males, voluntarily took part in the Flora pro-activ 3 Week Challenge in a bid to lower their cholesterol levels.
From the six participants who successfully finished the 3 week program two of the participants started off the challenge with a normal body mass index, three were overweight and one was obese. The fasting lipid profiles showed an average total cholesterol level of 7.0mmol/L, an average LDL (bad cholesterol) of 5.8mmol/L and an average HDL (good cholesterol) of 1.2mmol/L. The participants’ ages ranged from 30 to 63 years.
The target for asymptomatic individuals at low risk of developing heart disease is to have LDL cholesterol of less than 4mmol/L, an HDL cholesterol greater than 1mmol/L, and a total cholesterol level of less than 5.5mmol/L. (Retelny, et al., 2008).
A number of factors play a significant role in the reduction of LDL cholesterol, such as diets low in saturated fats and high in fibre as well as regular exercise.
Plant sterols also help in reducing high cholesterol levels by partly blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. The cholesterol that is not absorbed is removed from the body, resulting in a lowering of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
During the course of the 3 week challenge each participant followed an individualised dietary plan, which also incorporated 2g – 2.5g of plant sterols per day from Flora pro.activ spread and UHT milk, as well as an exercise programme. The participants were reviewed every week, for the duration of the whole 3 week challenge, by a nutritionist who monitored their food intake diary and progress.
Previous studies have shown that sufficient plant sterols contained in three portions of Flora pro.activ foods consumed each day can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) by 10-15% in just three weeks, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
At the end of the 3 week challenge the participants who followed the diet and exercise advice of the nutritionist managed to change their lifestyle, and reduce both their weight and cholesterol levels: average total cholesterol level of 6.1mmol/L (12.9% reduction) and an average LDL cholesterol of 4.4mmol/L (24.1% reduction).
The aim of this challenge was to give the Maltese consumer a chance to make a lifestyle change. Thanks to the programme the participants were given the opportunity to consult a nutritionist who offered advice and guidance throughout the 3 week challenge on how to make dietary and lifestyle changes leading to better heart health.
The challenge was a success in that it resulted in weight loss and lower cholesterol levels.
Flora and Flora pro.activ products are part of the Unilever brand portfolio imported and distributed locally by M&Z (Marketing) Ltd. PO Box 295, Valletta, Malta. www.florahearts.com.mt
Cardiosterol beats the rest hands down
Many people have turned to fish oil supplements to enrich their diet with the Omega-3, fatty acid. This fish oil is derived from the tissues of oily fish and it is recommended for a healthy diet because it contains the fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahaexaenoic (DHA), precursors to eicosanoids that reduce inflammation through the body. Besides its anti-inflammatory properties it can also regulate cholesterol in the body.
A lot of milk, yoghurt and juice companies are claiming now to have Omega added to them in order that the consumer will chose their product. The advertising may tend to deceive the end consumer to believe that the Omega he is taking from the milk is enough and there is no need for him to buy food supplements in capsule form containing the omega fish oils.
A brief overview of products on the market will easily reveal claims of Omega-3 presence in milk, yoghurt, cereals, bars and juices. Unfortunately quantities and concentrations of Omega are not observed in the nutritional values well enough by the end consumer. There are huge differences with regards to quantity and percentages of Omega per 100 g, between these products and CARDIOSTEROL a recent product of ALTA CARE Laboratoires. Cardiosterol softgels are made in France and every softgel contains 100% of Omega while milks, yoghurts, bars and juices have not more than 0,8% of Omega that is added to them.
Cardiosterol besides having Omega-3 also has Omega-6 and Omega-9, the three of which are to be found in shark liver oil. Shark liver oil is obtained from sharks caught for food purposes only, living in cold deep oceans. The liver from sharks has been used by fishermen for centuries as a folk remedy for general debility, for healing wounds, sores, irritations of the respiratory tract and the alimentary canal and for lymph node swelling. The nutritional information demonstrate the absence of Omega-6 and Omega-9 in milk, yoghurt, cereals, bars, and chocolates. This is another reason why to opt to supplement oneself with Cardiosterol Omega 3-6-9 soft gels.
One other important quality that differs from the products mentioned above is that the Omega in Cardiosterol is stable, that means it does not oxidize, as may happen when a product is processed or manufactured. The Omega found in Cardiosterol is processed the pharmaceutical way using micro encapsulation techniques to guarantee that when the Omega reaches the consumer the concentration and the quality is guaranteed.