For an active and rewarding retirement, you should take particular care of your health. Retirement is no fun when you don’t feel well enough to enjoy your freedom. It’s best, of course, to establish healthy living patterns at a young age, but it’s never too late to get on track by exercising, eating healthy foods, and avoiding bad habits.
One problem that many seniors face is their cholesterol level. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that builds up in one’s blood; too much of certain kinds of cholesterol can cause hardening of the arteries, chest pains, and heart disease including the chance of heart attack. There are two different kinds of cholesterol: HDL, or “good cholesterol,” which actually keeps hardening of the arteries under control; and LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” which is the primary source of cholesterol buildup in the arteries. Additionally, triglycerides are another form of fat that resides in the blood.
Safe Cholesterol Levels
If you have an annual check up, the lab results will always specify your current cholesterol level. A normal level of total cholesterol is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL. An optimal amount of LDL is around 100 mg/dL; if your LDL cholesterol is in the 130-150 range, that’s high. And HDL cholesterol should be in the range of 40 mg/dL (or slightly higher for women).
The important thing, then, is to reduce your LDL level if it’s high. Adopting a low-cholesterol diet is one effective way to do this. Such a diet plan would include a variety of high fibers and complex carbohydrates: many fruits would fall into this category, such as grapes and berries, bananas, pomegranates, and prunes. One vegetable that is particularly good at binding bile acids in your stomach is collard greens. Bile acids are essentially made from cholesterol, and when the acids are bound it is easier for your body to excrete them. Collard greens are best steamed; add a little vinegar and they’re delicious.
Avoid These Foods or Eat In Moderation
Foods to avoid are saturated fats — cut back on red meat and eat lean slices of meat, fish, and poultry instead. Saturated fats are found in ice cream, whole milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy products as well; you can’t avoid these foods entirely, but consume them in moderation. As for cooking oils, olive oil and canola are lower in saturated fats than palm oil and coconut oil, so opt for the former.
Exercise to Reduce Harmful Cholesterol
Another way to reduce cholesterol is to start up an exercise program, particularly cardio exercises. For one thing, you’ll lose weight. Being overweight limits an active and rewarding retirement, you should take particular care of your health. Retirement is no fun when you don’t feel well enough to enjoy your freedom. It’s best, of course, to establish healthy living patterns at a young age, but it’s never too late to get on track by exercising, eating healthy foods, and avoiding bad habits.
Many people suffer from high cholesterol levels, but the problem can usually be solved with some lifestyle changes. Most important, if you haven’t recently had a cholesterol reading done via a check up at a doctor’s office, make an appointment to do just that, so you’ll know where you stand and can take corrective action before the problem grows into a more serious condition.