From November to January, it’s very easy to lose track of our healthy eating habits when attending holiday and family get-togethers. For people with high cholesterol, however, making healthy food choices is very important.
Yazid Fadl, MD, MPH, Indiana University Health cardiologist, shares, “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 Hearts at Home In-Home Care, offering trusted home care in Mission Hills and the surrounding communities, can help protect both you and your senior loved ones from health complications this holiday season and beyond:
- Watch stress levels. Especially in light of the pandemic, all of us are dealing with more stress than normal, and the holidays tends to exacerbate stress as well – causing us to turn to sugary or fatty comfort foods. Not just that, but stress itself can increase levels of cholesterol. Take sufficient time for journaling, relaxing activities, talking with friends, and being deliberate with regards to food choices.
- Don’t skip meals. Often during the holidays, people decide to bypass breakfast to “save room” for a large holiday feast. However, it’s healthier to start the day with a wholesome breakfast and eat smaller meals more often throughout the course of the day, as opposed to overindulging on a single large dinner.
- Make smart beverage choices. Hot cocoa, eggnog, alcoholic beverages – many common holiday drink options are unhealthy for the heart. If an older loved one does not want to forego festive drinks, encourage him or her to enjoy them in moderation, opting mainly for plain or sparkling water instead.
- Limit cheese intake. According to Joan Salge Blake, RD, clinical associate professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, cheese is typically the top source of heart-unhealthy saturated fat for Americans.
- Get moving. Exercise helps increase good cholesterol (HDL), which protects the heart, along with helping maintain a proper BMI. Older adults should seek the advice of the doctor before beginning or changing any regular exercise plan, but exercise is important for all ages and ability levels.
For more resources and tips to help the older adults you love maintain heart health, contact the aging care team at Hearts at Home In-Home Care. We are also happy to plan and prepare healthy and balanced meals, provide transportation to medical appointments and exercise classes, offer friendly companionship to brighten every day and minimize stress, and more.