From November to January, it can be challenging to practice healthy eating habits during family and holiday get-togethers. For people with high cholesterol, however, making appropriate food choices is very important.
Yazid Fadl, MD, MPH, Indiana University Health cardiologist, states, “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 Home With You Senior Care will help protect you and your senior loved ones from health complications this holiday season and beyond:
- Watch stress levels. Because of the pandemic, all of us are dealing with more stress than usual, and the holiday season frequently exacerbates stress as well – leading us to turn to fatty or sugary comfort foods. In addition, stress itself can increase cholesterol levels. Take time for connecting with friends who uplift spirits, journaling, relaxing activities, and being intentional regarding food choices.
- Don’t skip meals. Oftentimes during the holidays, people opt to bypass breakfast to “save room” for a large holiday meal. Instead, it is much better to start the day with a nutritious breakfast and eat smaller sized meals frequently throughout the span of the day, as opposed to gorging on one large dinner.
- Make sensible beverage choices. Hot cocoa, eggnog, alcoholic beverages – many common holiday drink choices are detrimental to the heart. If a senior loved one does not want to forego festive drinks, encourage moderation, opting mainly for sparkling or plain water instead.
- Limit cheesy dishes. According to Joan Salge Blake, RD, clinical associate professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, cheese is typically the leading source of heart-unhealthy saturated fat for Americans.
- Get moving. Exercise helps increase good cholesterol (HDL), which protects the heart, together with helping maintain a healthy BMI. Older adults should seek the advice of the doctor prior to starting or changing any physical exercise plan, but exercise is necessary for all ages and ability levels.
For further tips and resources to help the seniors you love maintain heart health through healthy eating habits, contact the aging care team at Home With You Senior Care. We are happy to plan and prepare nourishing meals, do light housework, offer friendly companionship to brighten every day and minimize stress, and more.