More research needed on levels of fat around our organs

The BBC's How To Stay Young has found that the levels of fat around presenter Angela Rippon's organs are higher than normal – but could that just be a normal part of ageing, asks Roisin Armstrong

TV's Angela Rippon has five times the recommended amount of stored fat around her heart and liver

THERE has been lots of media coverage on the disturbing revelation that, despite years of eating right, playing tennis and dancing, someone as active and 'well kept' as Angela Rippon, should have – as seen on the How To Stay Young programme on BBC1 – five times the recommended amount of stored fat around her heart and liver.

As this was discovered by an MRI scan and therefore pretty new science, there may not yet be enough knowledge and research around to establish if this may just be a normal, protective part of getting older; she is, after all, 71 years old.

If you are concerned about how to control such fat, natural medicine producers advocate the use of inulin, a dietary fibre that is non-digestible, passing through the small intestine into the large intestine, where it ferments and stimulates the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria. This action makes it what is termed a prebiotic.

While prebiotics are known to have many health benefits due to their effect on beneficial intestinal bacteria, there are no health claims currently allowed for them. The current surge of interest focuses on a specific action they have – that they may be able to lower levels of triglycerides in the body.

Inulin belongs to a group of carbohydrates called fructans, present in onions, bananas, garlic, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes and asparagus, chickpeas and lentils, but higher concentrations are found in chicory root and dandelion root.

To supplement, try A Vogel's Dandelion Tincture. The tincture helps the liver to metabolise fats more efficiently, so the overall effect on fat stores is extremely positive. Dandelion has also recently been promoted as having an anti-cancer effect and consequently worldwide supplies have been well nigh exhausted. Fortunately Vogel grow their own super, organically produced, holistically standardised dandelion for this tincture, containing both root and leaves.

Or try Lepicol is a three-in-one combination of gentle psyllium husk fibre supplement, live bacterial cultures and inulin, from chicory. Usually recommended for easy bowel transitions. But obviously useful here too.

If you want to increase your consumption of inulin-rich foods and fibre intake increase your pulse consumption. Try this curry from my book Porridge is An Aphrodisiac – it is amazingly tasty.


(Serves 4)

2 tins of chickpeas

1 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, diced

1 dessertspoon tomato puree

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoons coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 bay leaf

600ml vegetable stock

2 medium carrots, cut into strips

1 dessertspoon soy sauce

450g spinach

50g raisins

Salt and black pepper

Drain and rinse chick peas. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry onions and garlic gently. Add tomato puree, spices and bay leaf; cook for five minutes.

Add most of the stock, carrots and soy sauce, simmer for five minutes. Trim spinach stocks and tear leaves if large; wash and add to pan with chickpeas and raisins, with more stock if necessary. Bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes. Check seasoning and serve with brown rice.

:: Porridge is an Aphrodisiac is available from price £13 plus p&p.

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