From November to January, it’s easy to lose track of our healthy eating routine during family and holiday get-togethers. For individuals with high cholesterol, however, choosing healthy food options is especially 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 guidelines from the Creve Coeur memory care team at Compassionate Nursing Services can help protect both you and your senior loved ones from health complications this holiday season and beyond:
- Keep your eye on stress levels. Especially in light of the pandemic, most of us are experiencing more stress than usual, and the holiday season often exacerbates stress as well – leading us to turn to fatty or sugary comfort foods. In addition, stress itself can boost levels of cholesterol. Make time for relaxing activities, journaling, connecting with friends, and being deliberate regarding food choices.
- Don’t skip meals. Oftentimes throughout the holidays, people choose to bypass breakfast to “save room” for a large holiday meal. Instead, it’s healthier to start the day with a nutritious breakfast and eat small meals more frequently throughout the course of the day, instead of overindulging on a single large meal.
- Make smart beverage choices. Alcoholic beverages, eggnog, hot cocoa – 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, selecting 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 the leading source of heart-unhealthy saturated fat for Americans.
- Get moving. Exercise helps increase good cholesterol (HDL), which protects the heart, in addition to helping retain a proper BMI. Seniors need to be sure to seek the advice of the doctor before beginning or changing any regular exercise plan, but exercise is necessary and beneficial for all ages and ability levels.
For more resources and tips to help the seniors you love maintain heart health, connect with the aging care team at Compassionate Nursing Services. We are also happy to plan and prepare healthy and balanced meals, provide transportation to physician appointments and exercise classes, offer friendly companionship to brighten every day and reduce stress, and a whole lot more.
Give us a call at 314-432-4312 to learn more about our top-rated Creve Coeur memory care and home care, and to request a no-cost in-home consultation today! For a full list of all of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.