I am not alone in having a number of family members suffer the massive life-changing consequences of having a stroke. One minute, it’s all good and the next it’s totally, completely and utterly not. Within the space of just a matter of minutes, a stroke victim loses their independence, often can no longer work, in the majority of cases has to rely on others to help with their everyday needs and assist in decision-making and unless the extent of the damage to both brain and body has been severe and the stroke proves fatal within around 30 days, can only expect this tragic change to their lives to continue for a number of years.
So where did it all go so horribly wrong? Why do statistics indicate that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 6 men of 75 and over are at serious risk? Is it simply age or might diet be involved?
Rationing during WW2 meant very little in the way of fats in diets and as rationing continued until 1954, they continued to be a very occasional luxury - meat and dairy products were in short supply and when you could get them, they were expensive. So why should any housewife lucky enough to get her hands on (and on rare occasions, afford) not treat the family to a good scraping of butter on their toast or a steaming-hot dish of macaroni cheese or a deliciously-creamy trifle for pud? Things were looking up!
But, just as families were beginning to enjoy feasting on delicious and filling fats, along came the ‘fat police’, in the main, courtesy of a researcher by the name of Ancel Keyes who spent years analysing the diets of the healthiest nations in the world and determined that fats were bad for us and would make us sick and fat. His extensive (but now universally-agreed, erroneous in so very many aspects) research prompted governments and health organisations to issue warnings about our fat consumption globally and who were we to doubt the advice of ‘those in the know’?
For some reason, which remains a mystery to those who are professionally, nutritionally trained, eggs continue to be regarded as a dairy product - sorry but no, they don’t come from a milk-producing animal! However, did they come in for some bad press or what! Thanks again to Ancel Keyes, eggs were vilified for decades because they contain cholesterol and saturated fat. But the truth is that cholesterol and saturated fat in animal produce has health benefits. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest that eating cholesterol-rich foods cause our cholesterol levels to increase. It is estimated that only 20 percent of our blood cholesterol levels actually come from our diet (the rest of the cholesterol in the body is produced by the liver, which it makes because we need it for brain, hormone, nerve and immune system health) and there is no evidence that the consumption of up to six eggs per week increases our risk of heart disease.