From November to January, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of healthy eating choices during family and holiday get-togethers. For individuals with high cholesterol, however, eating healthy during the holidays is particularly 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 recommendations from Grace Home Care, the experts in home and memory care, can help protect both you and your senior loved ones from health complications this holiday season and beyond:
- Take note of stress levels. Specifically, in light of the pandemic, all of us are having to deal with more stress than usual, and the holidays frequently aggravate stress as well – causing us to turn to sugary or fatty comfort foods. Not only that, but stress itself can boost levels of cholesterol. Make time for speaking with friends, journaling, relaxing activities, and being intentional about food selections.
- Do not skip meals. Oftentimes, during the holidays, people choose to bypass breakfast to “save room” for a big holiday meal. Instead, it’s healthier to start the day with a nutritious breakfast and eat smaller sized meals frequently through the span of the day, as opposed to gorging on one large dinner.
- Make sensible beverage choices. Alcoholic beverages, eggnog, hot cocoa – many popular holiday drink options are detrimental to the heart. If you don’t want to forego festive drinks, enjoy them in moderation instead, opting primarily for plain or sparkling water instead.
- Limit cheesy dishes. As explained by Joan Salge Blake, RD, clinical associate professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, cheese is typically the leading source of heart-unhealthy saturated fat for Americans.
- Get moving. Exercise helps increase good cholesterol (HDL), which safeguards the heart along with helping maintain a healthy BMI. Seniors need to be sure to seek the advice of the doctor before starting or changing any physical exercise plan, but exercise is important for all ages and ability levels.
For more tips and resources for eating healthy during the holidays, contact the aging care team at Grace Home Care. We’re also happy to plan and prepare nutritious meals, provide transportation to medical appointments and exercises classes, offer friendly companionship to brighten every day and minimize stress, and much more.