From November to January, it is very easy to lose track of our healthy eating habits with family and holiday gatherings. For older adults with high cholesterol, however, making sensible food choices is extremely important.
Yazid Fadl, MD, MPH, Indiana University Health cardiologist, says, “Around the holidays, we tend to let ourselves go, and that’s the absolute worst thing you can do if you have a heart condition, high cholesterol, or blood pressure problems. In a single month, you can eat all the wrong things at once, putting significant stress on your body.”
These five tips from Abby Senior Care can help protect senior loved ones with high cholesterol from health complications this holiday season and beyond:
- Closely examine stress levels. Especially in light of the pandemic, almost everyone is dealing with more stress than normal, and the holiday season has a tendency to exacerbate stress as well – leading us to turn to sugary or fatty comfort foods. Furthermore, stress itself can boost levels of cholesterol. Take plenty of time for relaxing activities, journaling, talking with friends, and being intentional with regard to food choices.
- Do not skip meals. Very often throughout the holidays, people decide to skip breakfast to “save room” for a large holiday meal. Instead, it is healthier to start the day with a nutritious and balanced breakfast, and eat smaller meals with greater frequency through the course of the day, rather than gorging on one large dinner.
- Make smart beverage choices. Eggnog, alcoholic beverages, hot cocoa – many popular holiday drink options are detrimental to the heart. If you don’t want to forego festive drinks, have them in moderation, selecting mainly sparkling or plain water instead.
- Limit cheese intake. As outlined by Joan Salge Blake, RD, clinical associate professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, cheese is the leading supply of heart-unhealthy saturated fat for Americans.
- Get moving. Exercise helps increase good cholesterol (HDL), which safeguards one’s heart, in addition to helping with retaining a healthy BMI. Seniors need to seek the advice of a doctor before beginning or changing any regular exercise plan, but exercise is essential for all ages and ability levels.
For additional resources and tips to help the seniors you love maintain heart health, get in touch with the aging care team at Abby Senior Care. We’re also happy to plan and prepare nourishing meals, provide transportation to medical appointments and exercises classes, offer friendly companionship to brighten every day and minimize stress, and much more.