From November to January, it’s easy to lose sight of our eating habits with all of the family and holiday gatherings. For people with high cholesterol, however, making healthy food choices 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 tips from Morning Glory Home Care, the trusted Highland care agency, can help protect both you and your senior loved ones from health complications this holiday season and beyond:
- Look closely at stress levels. Especially in light of the pandemic, all of us are experiencing more stress than normal, and the holiday season often aggravates stress as well – causing us to turn to sugary or fatty comfort foods. Furthermore, stress itself can boost levels of cholesterol. Take plenty of time for journaling, relaxing activities, connecting with friends, and being intentional about food selections.
- Don’t skip meals. Oftentimes during the holidays, people decide to skip breakfast to “save room” for a substantial holiday meal. However, it’s much healthier to begin the day with a nutritious breakfast and eat smaller sized meals more frequently throughout the span of the day, as opposed to gorging on a single large meal.
- Make wise beverage choices. Hot cocoa, eggnog, alcoholic beverages – many common holiday drink options are not healthy for the heart. Forgo festive drinks entirely or enjoy them in moderation, choosing mainly 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 number one source of heart-unhealthy saturated fat for Americans.
- Get moving. Exercise helps increase good cholesterol (HDL), which safeguards the heart, in addition to helping maintain a healthy BMI. Seniors need to be sure to check with a doctor before starting or changing any regular exercise plan, but exercise is necessary for all ages and ability levels.
For more tips and resources to help the seniors you love maintain heart health, get in touch with the aging care team at Morning Glory Home Care. We’re also happy to plan and prepare nourishing meals, provide transportation to physician appointments and exercise classes, offer friendly companionship to brighten each day and minimize stress, and more.
Reach out to the Highland care agency local families trust at 618-667-8400 to ask about a complimentary in-home consultation today! For a full list of each of the communities we serve, please see our Service Area page.