Doctors have been telling their patients for decades that they need to watch their cholesterol levels and, primarily, to lower their “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, LDL). The problem is that not a lot of guidance is given on how to accomplish this.
When it comes to your elderly parents and loved ones, it is extremely necessary to take actions toward helping them to lower their bad cholesterol. And to engage in better health and wellness strategies to stay healthy, for the short and long term.
It is important to focus on lifestyle changes when assisting your loved ones to lower their cholesterol. Making changes are only useful if they are made a permanent part of their way of life. It means making diet and exercise habit changes that are designed so that they can and will be done for the long term and not just temporarily.
Here are five great ways to help your elderly parents to lower their cholesterol.
It’s true that exercise helps people to stay healthy at any age. It’s good for the body in many positive ways. It keeps the heart, weight, stress, and even cholesterol under control. The key to encouraging sustainable exercise habits that are enjoyable. Choose activities that they will enjoy, such as dancing, daily walks, or swimming. Always have a doctor evaluate your parent before starting an exercise routine to ensure their safety.
Help them to work up to 5 days a week of regular exercise for at least 30 minutes. You may have to start with just a few minutes and add more as they build endurance.
Read Nutrition Labels
According to the American Heart Association, an adult should have no more than between 25 and 35 percent of their calories from fat. By checking the nutrition labels of the items at the grocery store, you can help your loved one to lower their fat. It is also important to note the serving sizes. It is easy to eat more than one serving size in a sitting, doubling or even tripling the amount of fat consumed.
Limit Portion Sizes
In America, we love our food. Portion sizes are literally out of control! Portion control is critical to maintaining good health and to lowering cholesterol levels. Here are some tips and tricks on how to reduce the portion sizes, while still enjoying healthy foods and staying full. Include vegetables with every meal. Veggies are filled with fiber and are also bulky so that they keep you feeling full for a long time. Use smaller plates. It creates the illusion that you are eating more than you are. Drink a glass of water before meals. It will fill you up, which means less room for food. Eat slowly. Put your fork down after each bite and savor.
We all love food, and we have our favorite dishes from which we just can’t part. No problem. There are always ways of taking your favorite foods and making them healthier. For example, instead of using margarine or lard to cook eggs or other items in a skillet, use Olive Oil cooking spray and wipe out the excess from the pan. Use spices instead of salt, whole wheat flour instead of white flour.
Minimize Alcohol Consumption
It’s best to lower your parent’s alcohol intake, if possible. Cholesterol levels remain excellent as long as you drink in moderation. Alcohol is high in calories, though, for something with little nutritional value. Too much alcohol can harm your liver, which can affect cholesterol.