Valentine’s Day is officially over, along with all its commercial excesses—from candle-lit dinners to long-stemmed Ecuadorian roses that wilt faster under our tropical heat.
If you are lucky, you might even receive a bouquet of chicharong bulaklak. If you are fabulously single, well, go buy that fat-laden crispy pork intestine to go with your stash of sweets, and then repent for all your saccharine and bad cholesterol-inducing sins.
You heart can only take so much. And believe me when I tell you that the food that you eat is as much a heartbreaker as the bad romance caused by your awful ex or your the-one-who-got-away. (Or the-one-who-dislikes-labels or the-one-who-just-can’t-seem-to-commit, you get the drift.)
Heart disease remains the top cause of death among Filipinos. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that out of 579,237 registered deaths in 2017, some 84,120 deaths or 14.5 percent was due to ischemic heart disease.
Among males, ischemic heart disease was the leading cause of death, followed by cerebrovascular diseases and cancer. Similarly, it was the top cause of death among females, followed by cancer and pneumonia.
According to the Department of Health, heart diseases remain high despite progress in treatment because of unhealthy lifestyle among Filipinos, primarily due to cigarette smoking; alcohol, sugar, and cholesterol intake; and stress.
Quaker, the no. 1 oats brand in the world, aims to lower cholesterol for better heart health management among Filipinos through its Quaker Smart Heart Challenge. First introduced in 2004 in the Philippines, the challenge was developed to demonstrate how adding oatmeal to daily diet helps reduce cholesterol.
“Oats is a common cereal noted for its heart benefits, owing particularly to its high soluble fiber content called beta-glucan,” said Dr. Rodolfo Florentino, immediate past chairman of the Nutrition Foundation of the Philippines Inc.
“Scientific studies have shown that beta-glucan is capable of lowering the cholesterol level in the blood, particularly LDL or bad cholesterol,” he added.
The Quaker Smart Heart Challenge aims to help individuals lower high cholesterol in just 30 days by making one simple change: incorporating two scoops or eight tablespoons of Quaker oatmeal daily, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Quaker has partnered with health coach Nadine Tengco to show how simple, convenient, and tasty an oats-filled diet can be.
“Two decades ago, I was smoking two packs a day and living a toxic lifestyle. My body was failing me and I had bronchitis constantly,” Tengco recalled. She has since turned her back on her vices and has led a healthier lifestyle, motivating other people in the process.
When she was asked to rise to the challenge of creating 30 recipes out of oats, Tengco said she focused on replacing carbohydrate staples bread and rice.
“Oats are part of my pantry as an alternative to flour. They are just there and were not a staple. So it was a challenge for me. The recipes have to be adaptable and sustainable. For it to become a staple, oats must take over pan de sal or bread and rice,” she said.
Her first creation was cinnamon roll made using oats in a mug that was cooked in a microwave oven for under three to five minutes.
“It was a eureka moment for me—baking is scary because it is such an exact science and takes a long time. On the other hand, mug cakes and mug tinapay using oats are so easy to do and acceptable,” Tengco added.
Her next dish was chao fan made with oats that took about 12 to 15 minutes to prepare.
“Who knew oats could be this versatile, and cheaper than other grain alternatives?” enthused Tengco.
So whether you are single, taken, consciously unattached, or in a complicated relationship, do take care of your heart. Take the Quaker Smart Heart Challenge and give your arteries and aorta some love.
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