NutriProCan Article Originally Published in Silver & Golf Magazine For Boomers Plus
Have you recently received your lab results and noticed that perhaps you have high cholesterol, blood sugars, triglycerides, or concerns about liver health? Working on these through good nutrition can help prevent and manage developing conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and liver disease.
Keep reading for our top tips to address common lab results. However, it’s important that you speak with both your physician and a registered dietitian before addressing blood work with nutrition and lifestyle. Dietitians are educated on interpreting lab results, how to help correct abnormalities with lifestyle, and can help to educate you on what your numbers mean.
High blood sugar (HbA1c)
How should I eat to balance my blood sugars?
Work on balancing your meals by including complex carbohydrates (vegetables, fruits, whole grains) with sources of lower fat protein (plain low-fat dairy, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds).
- At meals, make ½ of your plate vegetables, ¼ protein, and ¼ carbohydrates
- Choose lower glycemic fruit options like apples or berries and pair with some nuts or plain yogurt
- Read labels and buy ‘no sugar added products
High LDL (lousy) cholesterol, low HDL (healthy) cholesterol, or high triglycerides
How do I improve my cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a significant risk factor for heart disease and the best way to improve your cholesterol is by limiting processed foods and eating fibre.
- Swap butter/lard/ghee/coconut oil (saturated fats) for olive/canola/avocado oil (monounsaturated fats)
- Swap high-fat dairy products for 1% or skim milk, plain yogurt, or lower-fat cheese and choose foods with <15% DV for saturated + trans fats
- Trim the fat off meats/poultry and consider swapping out for plant-based proteins such as chickpeas, lentils, or tofu
- Aim for 21-38 g/day of fibre
Fatty liver, high AST or ALT
How should I eat to protect my liver health?
The liver is a very important organ, performing 500 vital functions!
- Focus on complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and vegetables, over simple carbohydrates such as white bread, rice, or pasta
- Drink 2 L of water daily
- Eat raw vegetables high in sulfur (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onion, garlic)
- Eat brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, fatty fish)
- Avoid drinking alcohol, eating foods high in saturated fat (butter, cakes, fatty meats), and eating or drinking foods and beverages high in added sugars (candy, baked goods, juices, pop)
I’ve received my vaccine, why is nutrition still important for my immune system?
Many of you may have received your COVID-19 vaccine, which is a great relief! However, it is always important to keep your immune system ready to fight off any infections, such as the annual flu.
So what can you do nutrition-wise?
The immune system is supported by a balanced diet, which includes these key nutrients:
- Vitamin C: oranges, kiwi, red bell peppers, strawberries
- Vitamin D: low-fat milk, fortified dairy alternatives, fatty fish or supplements (check with your doctor before taking any supplements)
- Zinc: meat, chicken, fortified cereals, beans, nuts, dairy, and whole grains
- Probiotics: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut
Nutrition changes can take as little as a few months to see positive results in your health, so get started today!
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Author: NutriProCan Dietitians. Nishaat Patel, RD, Master of Dietetics, BSc. Nutrition, BSc. Food Science
Always consult with a qualified registered dietitian before changing your diet. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a dietitian consultation. The Information is not exhaustive, does not provide any medical advice, and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. Contact [email protected] with any questions.