Five Foods to Help Manage Cholesterol

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apple-302289_1280.jpgCholesterol levels can be a big concern for many aging parents, spouses, and others. Seniors need to keep an eye on their cholesterol, as high levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of good cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Diet plays an important role in managing cholesterol levels. Here are five foods that aging parents and others can use to help manage cholesterol levels. There are many other foods that are also effective, so consider this a starting point. Of course, it's important to consult with a doctor before altering your diet.

An apple a day. Yes, the old saying about an apple a day and keeping the doctor away is true. Some studies indicate that eating an apple a day can lower LDL cholesterol (commonly called "bad cholesterol") levels by as much as 40%. It's important to eat the whole apple, including the peel, rather than just the juicy flesh, because the peel is a particularly good source of valuable antioxidants.

Go fish. Eating fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, sardine, and herring, is another way to help reduce bad cholesterol – and it can also help boost HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Fatty fish contains omega-3 fats, which help to cut down on triglycerides. Additionally, if you're eating fish then you're not eating red meats, which are more likely to increase bad cholesterol. Try to eat fatty fish two or three times a week.

Get juiced (with cranberries). Cranberry juice also helps to raise good cholesterol levels. It works best if you can consume three glasses per day; some stomachs find that to be a bit much, but even drinking one glass a day can have positive effects.

Join the navy (beans, that is). Beans are loaded with soluble fiber, which helps to lower bad cholesterol. Most beans, from navy to lentils to garbanzo, are excellent at fighting cholesterol. With so many varieties, it's easy to include beans in your diet and rotate them so that you don't become bored.

Almonds can bring joy. Snacking on almonds or adding them to salads is an easy and delicious way to fight cholesterol. As with apples, make sure that the almonds contain the skin; that's the part that really packs a punch in the fight against cholesterol.

There are dozens of other foods that can help aging parents manage cholesterol levels. Working with your doctor or nutritionist is a good way to develop diet plans that can help to address cholesterol issues while ensuring a range of delicious meals.

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