For decades doctors and researchers have been sounding the alarm about “bad” cholesterol. But what do you do when your doctor says you need to lower your cholesterol?
There’s a lot of information and it can get confusing and overwhelming. We’ve put together 6 tips to help you lower your cholesterol.
The first thing is to make lifestyle changes that focus on your health and wellness. Simple lifestyle changes can help with your overall health — not just your cholesterol levels.
Here are 6 tips for cholesterol-lowering tips for seniors:
1. Read the Labels
When grocery shopping, be sure to check the labels for important nutrition information. You will find that the total-fat description, near the top, will help you to make the best choices. It’s recommended that adults follow a diet that has no more than 25 to 35 percent of calories from fat, and no more than 7 percent from saturated fat.
Nutrition labels tell you how much total fat is in that product, per serving, and this is broken down into types of fat — including saturated, unsaturated, and trans fat. The amount of cholesterol is also listed. Pretty handy!
Important Tip: Always remember to note the number of servings in the package so you don’t inadvertently consume double or triple the amount of fat you expected.
2. Limit Portions
Food is wonderful — and sometimes we love it so much we can’t stop! Portion control is a key part of keeping healthy and lowering cholesterol levels. Here are a few tricks to reducing the amount of food we eat while still enjoying the food we love.
- Set a table —even if you’re dining alone.
- Use smaller plates. We often fill bigger plates because they look empty.
- Drink a glass of water before meals — and drink water with meals to promote feelings of fullness and keep hydrated. Did you know, dehydration can mask itself as hunger?
- Chew slowly. Be sure to completely chew your food before swallowing. You can practice this by putting your fork or spoon down between bites.
3. Make Substitutions When Cooking
We all have favourite recipes! But if these recipes include ingredients that increase our cholesterol levels, such as heavy butter or full-fat cream, it’s time to look for substitutions.
- Use herbs and spices to add flavour rather than salt and fat.
- Bake with whole-wheat flour instead of white.
- Use liquid margarine rather than butter.
4. Reduce Alcohol Intake
You may enjoy some wine, beer, or spirits from time to time if you’re not taking medications that say you should avoid alcohol and your doctor hasn’t advised you not to drink. As far as cholesterol goes, this is fine — as long as you drink in moderation. Alcohol has calories, though. And remember: Too much alcohol can affect your liver which can, in turn, affect your cholesterol.
5. Get Moving
We’ve all heard that exercise will help us stay healthy. The reason we hear it so much is because —it’s true! Exercise affects our bodies in so many positive ways. Being physically active can help your heart, control your weight, manage your stress, and it’s fun.
Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine to see if there are any activities you should avoid. When you get the go-ahead, choose what is most comfortable, interesting and fun for you.
This could be a dance class, yoga sessions, bicycle rides, or even a daily walk around the neighbourhood alone or with a friend. Whatever you do, if your body is moving, it’s a good thing!
6. Talk to Your Doctor
Your doctor is there to help you stay as healthy as possible. They can also offer you more tips and tricks and they may even prescribe you a cholesterol-lowering medication to help keep you healthy and feeling your best.
Cholesterol levels may not drop overnight and you may require medication to help keep you healthy. However, incorporating some simple lifestyle changes, can improve your health and reduce your risk of heart disease.