As people get older, there is a greater need to take control of and manage their health to maintain their quality of life and live as independently as possible. One of the things seniors and retirees should look out for are their levels of good and bad cholesterol. High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in older adults have been linked to an increased risk of death from heart disease and stroke, while good cholesterol (HDL) absorbs bad cholesterol in the blood and carries it back to the liver where it flushes out from the body.
Medical professionals often prescribe a class of medication called Statins to help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, the latter of which is a type of fat that circulates in your blood and can also contribute to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. For seniors and retirees who don’t want to rely on prescription medication and want to supplement their treatment with healthy alternatives, there are numerous lifestyle changes, foods, and OTC vitamins and minerals they can take to lower their LDL and triglyceride levels.
If you have started exercising and eating healthier foods but are still concerned about your cholesterol levels, there are numerous supplements you should consider along with the advice of your primary care doctor. While supplements can improve your health, you may need to continue taking prescription medications to keep your cholesterol numbers at a safe level. So be sure you communicate any dietary changes to a health professional.
Fish Oil – This oil is derived from certain types of fish that have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and can be taken in supplement form. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential that help lower triglyceride levels, help maintain healthy LDL levels, and help increase HDL levels. Additionally, fish oil can help fight inflammation, reduce blood pressure, promote healthy skin, and improve bone health in people of all ages.
Flaxseed – This is a food crop that is a great source of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that flaxseed (in whole or oil supplement form) can help limit the amount of cholesterol the body absorbs from food. Additionally, this miracle seed may help lower the risk of certain cancers, help seniors and retirees maintain a healthy weight, and reduce blood pressure. An easy way to add this seed to your diet is to add it to a morning or lunch smoothie, but it’s such a versatile ingredient that it can enhance the taste of many recipes.
Garlic – Of the many alternative treatments to the Statins class of medications to help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol among older people, garlic is one of our favorites. According to studies, eating half to one clove of garlic each day can lower cholesterol by about 10 percent. Those who aren’t fans of incorporating crushed garlic into their meals can take a supplement in pill form and reap the same rewards.
Green Tea – Green tea has numerous qualities that promote health. It is prepared from unfermented leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant and is also a type of healthy tea that has undergone less processing than Black, Herbal, Oolong, and White teas. Studies have shown that a type of antioxidant called catechins is responsible for lowering cholesterol in adults. Among its other health benefits include promoting oral health, easing rheumatoid arthritis, and antibacterial activity.
Niacin – Research has shown that niacin can lower triglycerides by 25 percent and raise healthy cholesterol (HDL) by over 30 percent. Niacin is vitamin B3 which can be found in foods like beef, fish pork, and poultry along with legumes, nuts, and seeds. You can also get a healthy dose of niacin with an over-the-counter B-Complex supplement. In addition to helping older people with their cholesterol levels, it can also help protect them from heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Red Yeast Rice – This is a dietary staple in Asia and has a long history within traditional Chinese medicine. It is a natural product of yeast that is grown on white rice and is available as an oral supplement. Red yeast rice contains a compound known as monacolin K which is an ingredient that is used in cholesterol-lowering prescription medications. Studies have shown that red yeast rice can balance your cholesterol by lowering LDL and triglyceride levels.
If you are receiving prescription strength Statins class medications like Atorvastatin, Fluvastatin, Simvastatin, etc., and would like to switch to alternatives to decrease your LDL and triglycerides levels, you should always check with your prescribing medical professional as well as check with a pharmacist before changing your regimen. Please do not consider this medical advice, consult your physicians.
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