Cholesterol is a waxy compound that can be found throughout the human body, and it is vital to dozens of different processes. When cholesterol levels get too high, it increases a senior’s risk of heart attacks, gallstones, diabetes, and liver disease. In addition to exercising and maintaining a healthy weight, here are eight foods seniors should avoid if they want to keep their cholesterol levels under control.
1. Processed Chips
Dozens of different ingredients must be added to processed snacks to increase their shelf life and enhance their flavor. However, many of those ingredients tend to raise cholesterol levels. Sweet potato chips are a great alternative, and they can be easily prepared at home with just a cookie sheet, coconut oil, salt, and pepper.
Professional caregivers can assist seniors with daily tasks such as preparing healthy and nutritious meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Portland seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
Beef liver is filled with vitamins and minerals, but it is rich in cholesterol. It is one of the unhealthiest forms of protein for seniors who have high cholesterol, and it should be avoided as much as possible. Other organ meats such as kidneys and brains are similar to liver, but they contain only a fraction of the cholesterol.
3. Breakfast Muffins
Not all muffins are unhealthy, but seniors who are worried about their cholesterol levels must take a close look at the ingredients of their baked goods. Homemade muffins filled with eggs, milk, white flour, and chocolate chips often contain more than eight grams of fat. Seniors who want to make their own muffins should try to replace some of the unhealthiest ingredients with applesauce, whole-wheat flour, and mashed bananas.
4. Hydrogenated Canola Oil
Most canola oil companies fill their products with hydrogen or hydrogen substitutes through a process known as hydrogenation. When cooking oil is hydrogenated, it increases trans fat levels and strips away most of the key nutrients. If your loved one must cook with canola oil, he or she should read the label to make sure it hasn’t been hydrogenated.
For many years, cooks believed margarine was a healthy alternative to butter. After quite a bit of research, they now know margarine contains large amounts of trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils. Much like canola oil, your loved one should read the ingredient list on margarine to see if it has been made with hydrogenated oil.
Seniors with high cholesterol levels are at risk of diseases. Consider hiring a professional caregiver to encourage your loved one to make healthier lifestyle choices. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Portland Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.
Seniors should try to eat at least a few servings of fresh seafood every week, but shellfish is generally not as healthy as salmon, trout, sardines, and tuna. A single serving of lobster contains just over 60 milligrams of cholesterol, and this is without seasoning or butter. Clams and mussels are often referred to as low-cholesterol shellfish, but they should be eaten in moderation as well.
7. Ice Cream
Ice cream can be difficult to give up, but this treat must be kept out of your loved one’s home if he or she has high cholesterol. A single serving of ice cream contains more fat than a cheeseburger and more cholesterol than 10 glazed donuts. If your loved one still craves ice cream, find ice creams with low sugar, fat, and cholesterol content.
The vast majority of fast food restaurants use high-fat ground beef patties and piles of unhealthy toppings. Making burgers at home with turkey meat and fresh veggies is a simple way to reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol. Your loved one should also avoid processed toppings like bacon and cheese.
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Portland home care. Services our caregivers provide include transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. Call one of our professional Care Managers at (207) 835-4849 to schedule an in-home consultation or to devise a care plan for your elderly loved one.