High cholesterol raises the risk for heart attacks, strokes, heart disease, and other health issues which could drastically affect your life. It’s crucial for a person at any age to take care of their cholesterol levels, especially Seniors, who are more likely to have weakened immune systems or heart issues. There are numerous ways to prevent high cholesterol levels and the development of health issues later on in life. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein; this is the “bad” cholesterol which transports particles through your body and builds up in arteries. High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is the “good” cholesterol, patrolling your body and picking up any excess cholesterol for transport back to the liver.
Causes of High CholesterolThere are numerous causes of high cholesterol from factors we are in control of, such as lifestyle choices, to factors we are not in control of, such as genetics. Unhealthy lifestyle choices including smoking, inactivity, or poor diet are all factors. Unhealthy levels of cholesterol could also be caused by medical conditions such as kidney disease, hypothyroidism, lupus, and other conditions. High cholesterol is a more common concern for people over 40 years old, due to the the inability of the liver to remove LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).
Smoking & Alcohol UseStudies show smoking and drinking alcohol lead to higher cholesterol and other health issues. Smoking lowers your “good” cholesterol levels and increases your risk for heart complications and cancer; drinking also leads to increased anxiety and stress and increases your overall cholesterol levels.
Diet & ExerciseThe tried-and-true method to leading a healthier life is diet and exercise! Diet majorly affects one’s overall health. A balanced diet free of high levels of salt and fat helps prevent health complications later in life. Some deliciousand cholesterol-lowering foods include:
- Oats and Whole Grains- oatmeal and other oat-based foods are rich in soluble fiber and help get cholesterol circulating, preventing build-up.
- Beans- packed full of soluble fiber gets the digestive system moving! In addition, beans also make you feel fuller, helping in the weight loss journey.
- Vegetable Oils- great substitutes for fatty oils such as butter, lard, or shortening and helps lower LDL.
- Apples, Strawberries, and Citrus- an apple a day? Try a whole orchard! Fruits are rich in soluble fiber called pectin, which lowers LDL and provides vital antioxidants.
- Fatty Fish- fish two or three times a week lowers LDL levels and provides omega-3 fats, which boosts LDL levels.
- Nuts- LDL isn’t too nuts about this food. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and peanuts are good for heart health and lower LDL levels.