Caregiving can sometimes feel like a full time job, in addition to your “other” full time job and raising a family. Along with all of the tasks involved in caring for an aging loved one, caregivers tend to neglect their own health and in many cases rely on fast food or processed foods.
Caregivers need to be as cognizant of their own health as a poor diet can lead to fatigue, depression and other, more worrisome health issues.
With the many conflicting reports about what is good to eat and what isn’t so healthy, we offer these good-for-your-heart foods though you should always consult with your doctor on his or her recommendations. Armed with this list a caregiver can not only make better choices at the grocery store for him or herself, but for their aging parents as well. It’s a win-win when everyone eats healthy.
Here are some healthy options to consider as a way to lower cholesterol:
- Fish, such as salmon, has been shown to protect against high cholesterol. Salmon is also high in Omega-3 fatty acids and can help raise “good” cholesterol. Try to get at least two servings a week and try to avoid fried fish dishes, instead opt for baked or broiled.
- Add avocado to a sandwich for a spread instead of mayo. Chop an avocado up and enjoy it in a salad or as part of a side dish. These vegetables are a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and that makes it a great substitute for spreads such as butter or mayo.
- Use garlic when you cook. It’s been found to lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots and reduce blood pressure. You can either take garlic supplements, or better yet, use it in cooking. Add sliced garlic cloves to your meals, put it on pizza, in soups or even in your side dishes.
- Beans are a great food choice because not only are they low cost, but they are high in fiber, low in fat and some types are high in protein. Beans can actually be a “meat” substitute if you want a meatless meal once or twice a week.
- Spinach and kale are two superfoods that can help guard against heart attacks by helping “your artery walls shrug off cholesterol invading particles.” Toss these greens in a salad. Add them to soups – last minute – and let them wilt, not cook thoroughly.
- Certain margarines – Benecol and Take Control – have been shown to lower cholesterol; they do this by blocking the absorption of cholesterol your food contains from reaching your arteries.
- Grab a handful of nuts. These foods are great to toss in a baggie and make a great on-the-go healthy snack. Choose walnuts, cashews and almonds. If you have high blood pressure, choose unsalted nuts. Don’t go crazy with these snacks because even though they are heart-healthy, they are high in calories.
- Drink tea. Whether hot or cold, tea is a “super drink” that offers an array of antioxidants. Tea can keep blood vessels “relaxed” and that can help prevent blood clots.
- Treat yourself to a piece of dark chocolate. The flavonoid antioxidants in dark or bittersweet chocolate can help keep arteries from clogging.
Take steps to incorporate these foods into your daily mealtime routines and you just might see a drop in your high cholesterol numbers!