September is National Cholesterol Education Month, making it the ideal time of year to check in with seniors and their progress toward keeping their LDL-C numbers down.
Managing cholesterol for cardiac health has always been a balancing act. As is often the case, dietary numbers may be confusing or easily forgotten if not reviewed from time to time, especially when individuals may be managing several health conditions.
Rather than focus on limitations to lower cholesterol, we share some lifestyle tips to keep LDL-C levels low. We also include heart-healthy foods that are equally beneficial to a low cholesterol diet.
What foods should seniors reduce and replace to lower bad cholesterol?
Older adults should aim to limit saturated fat to no more than 10% of their daily calories. Saturated fats are found in animal-based foods like beef, pork, poultry, full-fat dairy products, and egg yolks.
Seniors can easily swap saturated fats for polyunsaturated fats. We suggest oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout, and cooking oils such as corn, flax, soy, and safflower. These are proven to lower blood triglycerides. In addition, choosing monounsaturated fats (olive oil, sesame oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocados) can help lower cholesterol.
People on cardiac diets and anyone looking for health-healthy food should always avoid trans fats.
High fiber lowers cholesterol
Doctors have established the guideline of consuming 10 grams or more of soluble fiber daily to lower LDL-C. This goal can be easily achieved by consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Focusing on sources of soluble fiber like oats, beans, barley, pears, mangos, and Brussels sprouts will ensure you reach your serving goals in no time. Also, aim to make at least half of the grains consumed whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and pasta and brown rice.
Lower LDL-C with plant sterols
Plant sterols mimic cholesterol in the blood. Therefore they “trick” the digestive system when it tries to absorb cholesterol. This process allows the body to eliminate cholesterol as waste so it does not stay in the bloodstream and clog arteries, lowering bad blood cholesterol. Eating at least 2 grams (2,000 mg) of plant sterols each day may lower your LDL-C by 5% to 10%.
Plant sterols can be found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, wheat germ, beans, lentils, sunflower seeds, and vegetable oils.
Let LiveWell with Traditions be your solution senior meal delivery services
If seniors in your care need assistance managing their cholesterol, LiveWell with Traditions can help. We are a direct-to-door, medically tailored meal service. Our Healthy Heart Menu offers individuals a low-fat, low sodium option to ensure those who need to manage their cholesterol get all the vital nutrients they need in a balanced diet. These prepared meals are especially vital in the wake of an acute cardiac event or congestive heart failure.
Best of all, our ready-to-heat meals are hand-delivered to post-acute discharge patients and health plan members who live with chronic health conditions, ensuring balanced nutrition for cardiac health is available when they need it most.
Contact our team for information on bringing medically tailored meal kits to seniors who require a meal benefit with heart health (and foods that won’t contribute to “bad” cholesterol) in every bite.