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Good and Bad Cholesterol Explained

As we age, we must be more mindful of what food we put in our bodies. Eating the wrong foods can cause us a host of health problems. That’s why it’s important to adopt healthy eating habits and incorporate nutritious meals into our diets.

One thing to be mindful of when you’re making food choices is the amount of good and bad cholesterol you’re consuming. We’ll explain the difference and give you examples of each so you know which foods you should eat and which to avoid:

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol

We’ll start with the good stuff, as in the good cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is good for you because it may reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

HDL cholesterol carries some of the bad cholesterol away from your arteries and transports it back to your liver where it is broken down. Since HDL cholesterol can help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in our bodies, we should actively seek to include it in our diets.

Eating balanced meals is one way to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. These meals should include fresh fruits, vegetables and grains such as oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain breads and cereals, and brown/wild rice. You should also eat protein-rich foods such as dried beans and lentils. Lean deli meat, like turkey, is another good option.

Other foods you should seek to incorporate into your diet include shellfish, tofu, egg whites, and fish, such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel. Certain nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower, or chia seeds, are also sound choices.

Diet is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. In addition to eating nutritious meals and avoiding saturated fats, you should avoid smoking, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week.

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol

High LDL cholesterol levels are considered bad for your health because they contribute to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. To lower LDL cholesterol levels, avoid eating fatty cuts of meat and processed meats, such as hot dogs, sausage, and bacon. You should also stay away from fried foods and baked goods such as cookies, cakes, croissants, and other pastries.

Also be mindful of your triglycerides levels. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat found in the body. A high triglyceride level can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, especially when paired with high LDL or low HDL cholesterol levels.

Here at Bridgewater Assisted Living, we understand that in addition to a good diet, having peace of mind is an essential part of one’s overall health and wellness. That’s why we work hard to ensure our residents are at both their physical and mental best.The team at BridgeWater Assisted Living prioritizes the health and well-being of our residents. In addition to serving nutritious chef-prepared meals, we have an on-site wellness and therapy center. Our residents can meet with an occupational therapist, physical therapist, or speech therapist depending on their individual needs.