The importance of heart health becomes more paramount as we age. In particular, cholesterol levels are vital to cardiovascular health. But knowing what cholesterol is and how to control it can be challenging, particularly for older adults. In this blog, we’ll go over the fundamentals of cholesterol, its importance to seniors, and natural strategies to keep healthy cholesterol levels as we age. We will also explore how elder care supports seniors in their heart-healthy journey.
The waxy, fat-like material that makes up blood is cholesterol. Although excessive cholesterol can cause plaque to accumulate in the arteries, raising the risk of heart disease and stroke, it is essential for the development of healthy cells. There are two primary forms of cholesterol to take into account when discussing it:
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol: Often called “bad” cholesterol, LDL cholesterol can impede blood flow by narrowing the arteries due to plaque accumulation.
- High-Density Lipoprotein, or HDL Cholesterol: HDL, sometimes referred to as “good” cholesterol, lowers the risk of heart disease by assisting in the removal of LDL cholesterol from the arteries.
Sustaining ideal cholesterol levels is essential for seniors in order to avoid cardiovascular problems and maintain general health. Some natural ways to do this are explored below.
Adopt a Heart-Healthy Eating Habit
It’s important to give special attention to whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Additionally, including foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados, is a good idea. However, some seniors might struggle with these foods, especially fish. This is one place where elder care comes in, helping seniors prep and cook things like fish in particular. At the same time, seniors should be encouraged to reduce their intake of processed snacks, fried food, and fatty foods that include saturated and trans fats. Also, while limiting fatty foods, elder care can encourage seniors to drink water or herbal tea rather than sugar-filled drinks and refined carbs, as these can raise their triglyceride levels.
Get Up and Move
Seniors should make it a habit to exercise frequently. In fact, they should try to get in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise. However, for seniors with mobility issues or those who lead a more sedentary life, they may need encouragement from elder care. This encouragement comes easy, especially if they work with seniors consistently and find something, or a few things, that keep their interest. For example, consider activities that don’t seem like exercise, such as gardening or walking around the block. Getting consistent physical activity throughout the day promotes general cardiovascular health, raises HDL cholesterol levels, and aids in weight management.
Manage Stress in Healthy Ways
Prolonged stress can raise cholesterol and lead to bad lifestyle choices. To relieve tension and enhance general wellbeing, seniors should try relaxation methods like yoga, tai chi, meditation, or deep breathing. There are classes they can find in the community or online with the help of elder care and loved ones. Also, both loved ones and elder care can participate with seniors, especially as they’re learning.
Seniors who want to emphasize heart health as they age must understand cholesterol levels and how to naturally manage them. They can do this easily with elder care and loved ones by their side.