Food'n'drink Health

No more boiled lamb’s brain for me

I recently had a bunch of blood tests done, a kind of overall health check thingy.

It was quite funny actually. M coincidentally went in as well for something, and while waiting in the Pathology place we observed what looked at first glance to be the most unhelpful receptionist ever known to mankind. A lady sitting in the chair, ignoring absolutely everybody, reading a magazine for the entire hour we were waiting.

It was towards the end of the wait that I twigged. She wasn’t a receptionist. She was another customer, having to wait a while between tests, and she had grabbed that chair because it was the only one left free at the time and/or she wanted the most comfortable chair due to being heavily pregnant.

Anyway, I got the results back. Everything checked out fine.

Except for cholesterol, which is at 5.9, certainly on the high side, though not high risk. (Over 6.2 is high risk. Under 5.0 is desirable level for men.)

The doctor asked if I eat a lot of cheese. What’s a lot? I’m not sure. I eat my share; I commonly put it on sandwiches and pasta.

Evidently other high cholesterol foods include eggs and butter. Switching from butter to some kind of canola oil spread might be the go there, if I can find something that tastes half-decent.

The top one on that chart, with 1900 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams, is boiled lamb’s brain. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble avoiding that.

What about foods that can lower cholesterol? This page lists some which I could get more of into my diet pretty easily: Oat bran/oatmeal (but not the instant kind), walnuts/almonds, fish with plenty of Omega-3 (baked or grilled), olive oil.

And of course exercise helps. I don’t do terribly or brilliantly at that, but the kids and I have started taking regular evening walks around the place, which will help.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

9 replies on “No more boiled lamb’s brain for me”

What the doctor appears to have failed to tell you is that the overwhelming majority of the population can’t get high cholesterol from eating foods that contain a lot of cholesterol. Instead, cholesterol is manufactured by the body in response to the consumption of saturated fats. So what you have to reduce is your intake of saturated fat. At the same time, increase your intake of fish because the kind of fat in fish (can’t remember what it’s called) increases your good cholesterol (there are two components). Lots of nuts have that good fat too.

The amount of cholesterol in lamb’s brains and eggs is irrelevant to everyone except the small proportion of people who can absorb cholesterol straight from food. The amount of saturated fat, however, is important. But I don’t know how much is in brains. Eggs don’t have much saturated fat. Cheese has enough though.

I found working a 30-minute walk into my day brought down both my blood glucose level and my bad cholesterol. Building it into my routine made it easy to persist with. And I lost some weight, too. Good luck.

I had crumbed and fried lamb’s brains late last year and they were edible but did have a spooky texture, similar to soft cheese. I wouldn’t order them but they were presented as part of a degustation so I was determined to try them.

I have high cholesterol too. It is likely inhereted frm my father but my diet might not help much at times. I forgot what the number was here as we use a different numbering system in the USA. Under 200 is good there. I try to eat some Flora pro activ spread every day to reduce it. A former co worker said that this spread worked very well to reduce her levels and it is tasty too. I have not since been retested to see if it is actually working in my case. A doctor actually wanted to put me on Lipitor and gave me a sample to try. It did not agree with me giving me a lot of gas and bloating. Sure enough one of the ingredients listed on the label was simethicone, the same ingredient in anti gas pills. Some people actually natrally have higher levels than others despite diet.

At 23 my cholesterol was in the 7’s and at one stage hit 9.1! I tried diets, overdosing on fish oil, naturopathic remedies (sugar cane wax) and even lost 10kgs yet it refused to get much lower than high 6’s. Now I have to take 80mg Zocor to keep it in the high 5’s… and I’m only 31!

PS. Saw a Siemens train at Southern Cross last night heading to “Data Version 9.2”

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