WITH STUDIES revealing that heart disease is among the top causes of death in the Philippines, Quaker Oats has moved to sustain the conversation about it and is challenging Filipinos to address the concern by lowering their cholesterol levels through its Smart Heart Challenge.

Back for another run this year, the Quaker Smart Heart Challenge aims to help individuals lower their 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.

The challenge, which was first started here in the mid-2000s, was created to help adults learn about and develop heart-healthy eating habits, especially now that more and more individuals — including a growing number of young Filipinos — are experiencing heart problems and high cholesterol levels.

“Heart health continues to be a pressing concern here in the Philippines. The number of people having high cholesterol is growing. And it is not only older people who are experiencing it as more and more young people are having it. And Quaker Oats wants to address that,” said Kay Paras, Quaker Philippines marketing manager, at the Challenge’s formal unveiling on Feb. 11 at House Manila in Bonifacio Global City.

She was joined in the unveiling by Dr. Rodney M. Jimenez of the Philippine Heart Association, clinical nutritionist Jake Brandon Andal, and Dr. Rodolfo F. Florentino, immediate past Chairman-President of the Nutrition Foundation of the Philippines, Inc, who also shared their take on heart health and the benefits that can be derived from oats.

“Oats is a common cereal noted for its heart benefits, owing particularly to its high soluble fiber content called beta-glucan,” highlighted Dr. Florentino, adding, “Scientific studies have shown that beta-glucan is capable of lowering the cholesterol level in the blood, particularly LDL-cholesterol.”

The Quaker Smart Heart Challenge started on Jan. 6 this year and runs until April 30.

Those joining must be 20 years old and above, be a resident of the Philippines, have borderline high to high total cholesterol levels (above or equal to 200 mg/dl), willing to maintain a standard cholesterol lowering diet throughout the 30-day challenge, and able and willing to give written informed consent and to comply with the requirements of the promo.

Registration mechanics can be found at https://quakeroats.ph/. By joining the Challenge one gets the chance to win a Smart Watch plus one-year supply of Quaker products for the top three participants with the highest percentage reduction, and Fitbit Bands plus a six-month supply of Quaker products for the next 10 participants with the highest percentage reduction.

To aid participants in their journeys in the Smart Heart Challenge, Quaker Oats partnered with health coach Nadine Tengco to come up with a variety of sweet and savory recipes to take cue from.

Recipes like Coco-Choco Oat Jar, Oats n’ Mango Breakfast Jar, Oats n’ Raisins Banana Mug Cake, and Whipped Egg-Whites n’ Oats are some of the items found at Quaker Philippines’ website which participants can use as a pattern for their dietary needs.

“Incorporating oats into your daily diet need not be boring nor complicated. It’s easier and more accessible now than ever to kick-start a heart-healthy lifestyle,” Ms. Tengco assured. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo