How Diet Changes Lower Cholesterol in Older Adults and Seniors
Diet changes can help lower the cholesterol levels of older adults, even if they are already on cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to an article published in Reuters. Dietary changes include reducing the amount of butter and saturated fats and increasing the amount of fish and omega-3 fatty acids.
According to the article, a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, January 2010, looked at the effects of dietary-fat changes on 900 Australian adults over the age of 49. These adults were followed for 10 years and, overall, found that regardless if the participants were or were not on a statin medication, reducing saturated fats in their diet helped reduce their cholesterol levels. At the same time, when the participants began eating more omega-3 fatty acids, they had a boost in their HDL (good) cholesterols and a drop in triglyceride (bad) levels.
According to lead researcher of the study, Anette E. Buyken of the Research Institute of Child Nutrition in Dortmund, Germany, the findings imply that older adults can make a difference in their heart health by choosing good dietary fats. Buyken added, "The benefits of reducing saturated fat and increasing omega-3 fat are the same for those on statins and those who are not," indicating that eating a healthy diet can help reduce cholesterol levels whether or not you are on cholesterol-reducing medication.
Individually, the reduction in bad cholesterol levels weren't dramatic. For example, for every one percent increase in the ingestion of omega-3, HDL (good) levels rose by only about 2.5 mg/dL. However, according to Buyken, the small effects of dropping butter or swapping red meat for fish can add up to make a difference in your cholesterol levels.