For years, cholesterol has been declared to be the true villain and the cause of cardiac diseases. Recent U.S. dietary guidelines ruled out the connection of dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol, dispelling this myth. Now, cholesterol is being touted as a critical ingredient of the senior healthy diet. Elders are now in a state of confusion as they are unable to decide whether to consume cholesterol or not. Let us take a good look at some cholesterol facts and analyze whether it is really harmful to elders or not.
Types of cholesterol and their role in a senior healthy diet
Cholesterol or fat as it is commonly called is an indispensable component of any diet as it is needed for cell regeneration and hormone production. 25% of cholesterol is acquired through diet while the liver produces 75% of the fats in the form of lipoproteins. Two types of lipoproteins transport the fat using the bloodstream namely low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein(LDL).
Fats find an important place in the elderly diet as they are needed for better lubrication of bones and muscles and quick repair of tissues. But excessive consumption of fat may also cause cardiac problems for the elderly. So, cholesterol must be consumed in moderation and in the right form.
High-density lipoprotein or HDL is essential to the body as it helps the body to maintain the structure of blood vessels and regulate hormone production. This “good” cholesterol helps seniors to combat their ageing problems related to digestion, bone strength and mental health.
But LDL or low-density lipoprotein, on the other hand, form a plaque or sticky layer on the arterial wall and create cardiac ailment for the elderly. This “bad” cholesterol must be consumed in limited quantity by the seniors to protect themselves from stroke or heart attacks.
The best food for the elderly will always contain cholesterol in the right form and quantity. Elders must consume only HDL containing Omega-3 and avoid LDL that create unnecessary health issues. They should also exercise regularly and undertake preventive health checkups to monitor their cholesterol levels.
How much cholesterol should a senior healthy diet contain?
The cholesterol levels of men increase with age after 20 and become static after 50. For women, cholesterol level generally rises mainly after menopause. Normally, the ideal range of blood cholesterol levels is between 140 to 200 mg/dL and should not cross 240 mg/dL. Of this, LDL should remain within 100mg/dL and not exceed this value. In contrast, HDL should be definitely higher than 60mg/dL. Anything under 40mg/dL of HDL is a risk for heart disease.
The best food for the elderly contains cholesterol in the right proportions maintaining the LDL and HDL level within the safe range. Even elderly home healthcare ensures that the cholesterol levels of the elders are well in control to help them maintain a disease-free life.
How elders can maintain cholesterol level through a senior healthy diet?
Cholesterol levels of elders can be kept in check by adhering to a strict senior healthy diet prescribed by expert dieticians and physicians in the following ways.
- Seniors should avoid eating animal fats or saturated fats present in butter, margarine, biscuits, pastries, chocolates, sausages, meat burgers and pies, pates etc.
- Hydrogenated fats or Trans-fats present in processed food and confectionery should be avoided.
- Monounsaturated fats present in olive oil, almonds, unsalted peanuts etc can be used to lower the cholesterol levels and protect the heart.
- Polyunsaturated fats present in oily fish as Omega-3 and in flax seeds, sesame, walnuts and hazelnuts are also healthy for elders.
- Seniors should eat more home-cooked food and avoid processed food to control their cholesterol levels.
- Fruits and vegetables when taken daily also help elders to process fats and remove toxin from the liver.
Seniors can maintain a healthy life even in their advancing years by following a senior healthy diet and with regular preventive health checkups. Elderly home healthcare services can be enlisted from professional providers to help elders follow this senior healthy diet consistently and maintain their health and well-being.