Maintaining a healthy level of cholesterol through diet and exercise is an important part of independent senior living. However, knowing how to balance your diet to keep your cholesterol in check can be quite a challenge. Changing philosophies on how to best manage cholesterol only complicate the issue. According to AARP, researchers are starting to rethink traditional dietary recommendations for keeping cholesterol low. While the merits or lack thereof of with foods like meat, cheese or butter are often sources of debate, there are several foods that have been found to be particularly effective in lowering cholesterol – here are five of the most common:
1. Fatty fish
According to Prevention, fatty fish and salmon have been found to deter both heart disease and dementia. Additional research also finds that these fish are an ideal source of good cholesterol while lowering levels of triglycerides. Prevention recommends fish such as herring and sardines.
Green tea has a wide range of health benefits. A meta-analysis of 13 studies published in the journal Nature found that green tea significantly lowers blood pressure. Green tea, when consumed daily, has been found to decrease a person's risk of cardiovascular disease, and researchers in the meta-analysis conjecture that this is likely due to the drink's ability to lower BP. Black tea has also been found to lower blood lipids. All in all, a cup of tea a day has some major heart benefits, provided you're somewhat restrained with the sugar or honey.
The Mayo Clinic notes that oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber, which lowers your bad cholesterol. What's more, fresh fruit is the perfect addition to a heaping bowl of oatmeal or oat bran. According to the source, fruits such as bananas can add a boost of fiber to your meal, while also providing numerous other essential nutrients. Soluble fiber prevents your body from absorbing bad cholesterol, thereby helping to keep your levels low.
"Red wine can raise good cholesterol by 5 to 15 percent."
4. Red wine
Numerous recent studies have lauded red wine for its antioxidants and various health benefits. Everyday Health points out that the alcohol in red wine can raise good cholesterol by 5 to 15 percent, and that the spirit is rich in the same antioxidants that are in green tea. However, if you're looking for something a bit lighter, grape juice provides a nonalcoholic alternative that's still loaded with antioxidants.
A recent study published in the Journal of The American Heart Association found that eating an avocado per day as part of a moderate-fat diet can elevate good cholesterol while simultaneously lowering bad cholesterol. However, researchers note that eating chips and guacamole might not have the desired effect, because corn chips are high in sodium and calories. Luckily, it's not that challenging to find other ways to incorporate this fruit into your daily meal. Avocados can be served atop breakfast scrambles, added to a green salad or even eaten on their own, just to name a few ideas.