From November to January, it is easy to lose sight of healthy dietary habits during family and holiday gatherings. For people with high cholesterol, however, making appropriate food choices and sticking to a low cholesterol diet plan is particularly 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 strategies from Inspired Home Care, offering trusted home and dementia care in Barrington, IL and surrounding areas, will help protect you and your senior loved ones from health complications this holiday season and beyond:
- Take note of stress levels. Especially in light of the pandemic, most of us are struggling with more stress than normal, and the holidays often exacerbate stress as well – leading us to turn to fatty or sugary comfort foods. Not just that, but stress itself can elevate cholesterol levels. Take plenty of time for journaling, relaxing activities, talking with friends who uplift the spirit, and being deliberate in regards to food choices.
- Don’t skip meals. Frequently during the holidays, people choose to bypass breakfast to “save room” for a substantial holiday meal. Instead, it’s much better to start your day with a wholesome breakfast and eat smaller sized meals more often during the course of the day, instead of overindulging on one large meal.
- Make wise beverage choices. Hot cocoa, eggnog, alcoholic beverages – many popular holiday drink options are not healthy for the heart. In the event that an older adults chooses not to forego festive beverages, encourage him or her to drink them in moderation, choosing mainly sparkling or plain water instead.
- Limit cheese intake. As stated by Joan Salge Blake, RD, clinical associate professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, cheese is the leading source of heart-unhealthy saturated fat for Americans.
- Get moving. Exercise helps increase good cholesterol (HDL), which safeguards the heart, along with helping preserve a healthy BMI. Seniors should be certain to seek advice from a doctor prior to starting or changing any exercise plan, but exercise is necessary for all ages and ability levels.
For more resources and tips to help the seniors you love maintain heart health, contact the aging care team at Inspired Home Care. We’re also happy to plan and prepare healthy and balanced meals, provide transportation to physician appointments and exercise classes, offer friendly companionship to brighten every day and reduce stress, and more.