From November to January, healthy eating options often fall by the wayside with family and holiday get-togethers. For anyone with high cholesterol, however, eating healthy during the holidays is very important.
Yazid Fadl, MD, MPH, Indiana University Health cardiologist, says, “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 Anthem Home Care, the experts in home and memory care in Corpus Christi, will help protect you and your senior loved ones from health complications this holiday season and beyond:
- Watch stress levels. Specifically, in light of the pandemic, almost everybody is encountering more stress than normal, and the holidays often aggravate stress as well – leading us to turn to sugary or fatty comfort foods. Not just that, but stress itself can increase cholesterol levels. Take time to connect with friends, to engage in journaling and relaxing activities, and to be intentional with regards to food choices.
- Don’t skip meals. Oftentimes during the holidays, people decide to bypass breakfast to “save room” for a large holiday feast. Yet it is far healthier to start the day with a nutritious breakfast and eat smaller meals frequently throughout the day, instead of gorging on a single large dinner.
- Make wise beverage choices. Eggnog, alcoholic beverages, hot cocoa – many popular holiday drink choices are unhealthy for the heart. In the event that a senior loved ones doesn’t want to forego festive drinks entirely, encourage moderation, choosing mainly plain or sparkling water instead.
- Limit cheese intake. As outlined by 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, together with helping preserve a proper BMI. Older adults should speak with a doctor before beginning or changing any physical activity plan, but exercise is essential for all ages and ability levels.
For additional tips and resources to help the older adults you love maintain heart health through eating healthy during the holidays and beyond, contact the aging care team at Anthem Home Care. We’re also happy to plan and prepare nourishing meals, provide transportation to physician appointments and exercises classes, offer friendly companionship to brighten each day and minimize stress, and so much more.