foods that fight high cholesterol

5 Natural Ways for Seniors to Fight High Cholesterol

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High cholesterol is a major concern for seniors, putting them at increased risk of heart disease and stroke. But there are many natural ways to fight high cholesterol without necessarily needing medication. In this article, we’ll explore lifestyle changes and other remedies that can help lower cholesterol and protect cardiovascular health.

The most important natural way to fight high cholesterol is adopting a heart-healthy diet. Foods like oats, beans, nuts, plant sterols and fatty fish have been shown to reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol. Limiting saturated fats, trans fats and other cholesterol-heavy foods can also make a significant difference. Regular exercise is another important lifestyle change for improving cholesterol levels and maintaining a healthy weight. Even light daily activity can help raise HDL “good” cholesterol. Quitting smoking provides additional benefits, quickly improving HDL levels after you kick the habit [1]. While moderate alcohol consumption may raise HDL slightly, heavy drinking cancels out any potential benefits.

Beyond diet and exercise, other natural options exist too. Supplements like plant sterols and stanols prevent the absorption of cholesterol. Controlling other conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes also reduces cardiovascular risks. And sticking with routine doctor visits and cholesterol screening enables you to monitor levels and determine if medication could be helpful down the line.

With some diligence about healthy lifestyle choices, seniors can often fight high cholesterol without prescription drugs. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Eat heart-healthy foods like oats, beans, nuts, plant sterols and fatty fish
  • Engage in regular exercise to raise HDL
  • Quit smoking to boost HDL quickly
  • Limit alcohol intake to moderate levels
  • Ask your doctor about plant sterols/stanols supplementation
  • Manage other health factors like blood pressure and diabetes
  • Get regular cholesterol checks and discuss medication if needed

Now let’s explore these natural remedies in more detail…

Natural Ways for Seniors to Fight High Cholesterol

As we age, keeping cholesterol levels in a healthy range becomes increasingly important. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular problems – the leading causes of death for those over 65. The good news is there are many natural ways for seniors to fight high cholesterol without necessarily needing medication. This article will cover lifestyle changes and other remedies to help keep your cholesterol under control.

Lifestyle Changes to Lower Cholesterol


What we eat plays a huge role in managing cholesterol. Focus on heart-healthy foods that can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol:

  • Oats – Eating oatmeal or cold oat-based cereals gives 1-2 grams of soluble fiber per serving to help remove cholesterol from the body. Add fruit for extra fiber.
  • Beans – Beans are very high in soluble fiber. They also take longer to digest, providing a “full” feeling.
  • Nuts – Almonds, walnuts, peanuts and other nuts can lower LDL by around 5%. Nuts provide additional nutrients that protect the heart.
  • Plant sterols – Found in certain fortified foods or supplements, plant sterols prevent the absorption of cholesterol. Getting 2 grams daily can lower LDL by 10%.
  • Fatty fish – Eating fish like salmon and mackerel provides omega-3 fats. These reduce triglycerides and blood clotting, and prevent abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Limit foods high in saturated fats (red meat, full-fat dairy) and trans fats (fried foods, baked goods).

Exercise Regularly

  • Engaging in light physical activity daily helps raise HDL “good” cholesterol.
  • Moderate exercise several days per week such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or gardening can also improve cholesterol levels.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight through exercise reduces risks further.

Obviously, if you’re unable to do certain exercises, don’t! The idea is to keep moving here. Look at Dick Van Dyke and how he danced right into his 90s. Consult your doctor on exercises that are right for you. IF you hire a personal trainer, make sure they’re qualified to work with seniors. Just find a way to keep the blood flowing.

Quit Smoking

hand holding cigarette
Photo by cottonbro studio
  • Smoking directly lowers HDL. Quitting leads to improved cholesterol in just weeks.
  • HDL levels start to recover within 20 minutes of quitting.

This is a tough nut to crack but it can be done, especially if you combine it with a new exercise routine. You’ll not only feel better, your friends and family will be more willing to spend time with you.

Check out the pros that can help you get this done.

Limit Alcohol

  • Moderate alcohol consumption may raise HDL slightly, but heavy drinking negates any benefit.
  • For healthy adults, moderate alcohol means 1 drink daily for women and 1-2 for men.

Additional Natural Remedies to Fight High Cholesterol


  • Plant sterols and stanols taken as supplements block the absorption of cholesterol from food.
  • They can be an option for those who need extra cholesterol lowering power in addition to diet and exercise.
  • Check with your doctor before starting any new supplement.

Manage Other Health Factors

  • High blood pressure and diabetes also contribute to heart disease risk. Work with your doctor to keep these under control through diet, exercise, and medication as needed.

Routine Screening and Doctor Visits

  • Get regular cholesterol checks, at least annually, to monitor levels.
  • Discuss medications like statins if diet and exercise aren’t enough, but be mindful of interactions with other prescriptions.
  • Work as a team with your doctor to determine the best cholesterol treatment plan for you.

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is important at any stage of life. The natural remedies discussed above, combined with a sensible diet and exercise plan, can help seniors effectively fight high cholesterol without necessarily needing drugs. Work with your physician and be proactive by implementing lifestyle changes to keep your cholesterol in check.


Here are some frequently asked questions about natural ways for seniors to fight high cholesterol:

What foods help lower cholesterol?

Some of the top foods that can help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol include oats, beans, nuts, fatty fish, and foods with plant sterols. Limiting saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol-heavy foods like red meat and full-fat dairy can also help reduce cholesterol levels.

How much exercise do I need to improve my cholesterol?

Light physical activity every day helps raise HDL “good” cholesterol. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise like brisk walking or swimming 3-5 days per week. Even small amounts of activity throughout the day can benefit cholesterol levels.

Does quitting smoking really affect cholesterol that quickly?

Yes, quitting smoking can start improving cholesterol levels very rapidly. Within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, heart rate and blood pressure improve. HDL levels will start to increase within just weeks or months of kicking the habit for good.

Should I take plant sterol supplements?

Plant sterols can help block absorption of cholesterol from food. Getting 2 grams per day from fortified foods or supplements may lower LDL by around 10%. Check with your doctor before starting any new supplements, especially if you take other medications.

How often should I get my cholesterol checked?

The general recommendation is to get cholesterol levels checked at least once per year when you are over the age of 45-50. Some people with high cholesterol need screenings more frequently, such as every 6 months. Discuss the right timing with your doctor.

When should I consider cholesterol medication?

If lifestyle changes like diet and exercise are not enough to get your high cholesterol under control, cholesterol medication may be recommended. Your doctor can help determine if and when medication may be appropriate based on your specific risk factors and health history.

Dee is a fitness enthusiast with a passion for discovering new and safe ways to stay fit well into our retirement years. She cherishes activities like swimming, cycling, and spending time outdoors.
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