The false idea that high cholesterol levels are a normal consequence of aging has since been disproved. Decades ago, people were resigned to believe what they thought was a fact of life; modern science has torn holes in that theory. Now we know that leading a healthy lifestyle, including proper eating and adequate exercise can circumvent high cholesterol levels in the blood.
Your elderly home care attendant can help you to lead a healthier lifestyle by reminding you to do your daily exercise, and can even go on walks with you. She can also help you to fix healthy meals that will avoid foods that raise cholesterol levels.
Have your doctor check your cholesterol levels as well as your triglyceride levels at every annual exam. The American Heart Association considers 100mg/dL to be an optimal level for those who have no risk of heart disease. He can explain the numbers to you; they will be measuring LDL and HDL, or what people call bad and good cholesterol. The LDL creates plaque that builds up on the walls of the arteries; the HDL binds to the LDL and carries it away. The lower the triglyceride levels the better. It may sound confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it won’t seem so complicated anymore.
The big culprit in raising the bad cholesterol levels in your blood turns out to be saturated fat, with trans-fats coming in a close second. Foods to avoid are: animal fats, high-fat dairy foods and hydrogenated oils. Changing your cooking methods from frying to steaming can make a big difference as well.
Good food choices include:
- Lots of vegetables, especially green leafy ones
- Oats and oat fiber
- Whole grains
- Fresh fruit
According to modern research findings, there are 5 foods that are true winners in lowering your cholesterol levels and protecting your heart. These foods are:
- Foods high in fiber, including oat bran, oatmeal, apples, barley, prunes, pears and kidney beans. There are other high fiber foods, so don’t limit yourself to only these, but they are a good place to start!
- Foods containing omega-3s, including fatty fish. They help in reducing blood pressure and cutting the chances of developing blood clots.
- Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts. Other tree nuts are also very beneficial. Some examples are pistachios, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts and some pine nuts. Avoid nuts that have been roasted and heavily salted. Also avoid those that have been given a sugar or candy coating. Fresh raw nuts are best, or roasted and unsalted.
- Olive oil. There are some powerful antioxidants in this good oil. It has benefits that protect and keep your heart healthy.
- Plant-based foods that are high in sterols and stanols – these help to block cholesterol absorption.
Other lifestyle changes that go along with a healthy diet to lower cholesterol levels and protect your heart include exercising, and ceasing smoking if applicable. Maintaining a healthy weight will also help keep the cholesterol levels low. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about implementing lifestyle or diet changes.