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Though summer is in full swing and the heat of the festivities on the rise, it's a good time to get a quick check on your health. So, before you grab that second frothy glass or third hot dog, take a moment to read this post!

The leading cause of death for adults over the age of 65 is heart disease. And one of the primary causes of heart disease is high cholesterol.

According to recent studies, about 25 million adults have high cholesterol, which can weaken and damage your cardiovascular system and put you at risk for heart disease and other serious conditions.

While these statistics are alarming, cholesterol levels are often manageable. And you don't have to cut out all the foods and activities you love to better your health.

The following are simple lifestyle changes you can make to lower your cholesterol and elevate your well-being this summer and beyond.

1. Adopt a leaner, greener diet

There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL cholesterol is considered the “good” kind, while LDL is considered the “bad.” LDL cholesterol is responsible for the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease and other major conditions.

HDL, on the other hand, actually carries the LDL cholesterol away from arteries and back to the liver, which breaks down the bad cholesterol and allows it to be passed from the body.

Eating more foods high in HDL cholesterol and fewer foods high in LDL cholesterol can help you reduce your overall cholesterol levels and therefore your risk for heart disease.

Eat less...

• Red meat, such as beef, and lamb
• Full-fat dairy products, such as butter, ice cream, and cheese
• Foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as cookies, cakes, and pizza

Eat more...

High soluble-fiber foods
• Beans
• Sweet potatoes
• Carrots
• Oatmeal
• Leafy greens

Foods high in unsaturated fats and Omega-3
• Fish, such as herring and salmon
• Avocados
• Nuts, such as almonds
• Seeds, such as flax and chia
• Poultry

2. Exercise more

Diet isn’t the only answer when it comes to lowering cholesterol. Getting regular exercise can also bring your cholesterol back down to healthy levels by helping your body increase its level of HDL cholesterol.

Consider starting a daily exercise routine that includes moderate, low-impact exercises. Here are some excellent exercises seniors can work into their schedules:

• Swimming
• Brisk walking or light jogging
• Moderate strength training
• Yoga

3. Drink less (or no) alcohol

While alcohol could have been placed in the dietary section of this post, its availability, popularity, and potency earned it its own section. Up until recently, studies suggested that alcohol could be a part of a healthy lifestyle if consumed in moderation.

For most healthy men, two to three drinks per day was considered acceptable. For healthy women, one to two drinks daily was considered okay. But according to recent studies, even small amounts of alcohol are associated with higher risks of health issues.

When it comes to cholesterol, drinking alcohol can make it more difficult to achieve healthy levels in your body. This is because alcohol, once consumed, heads straight to your liver where it is transmuted into cholesterol and triglycerides, another type of fatty substance.

The more you drink, the higher the chances of fatty buildup in your arteries. So, consider reducing or stopping your alcohol intake to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

So, with these tips in mind, get out there and keep your summer fun up and your cholesterol down!


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