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Is there such a thing as "good cholesterol"?

You may have heard the terms “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol.” These terms refer to substances called lipoproteins, which are "transport vehicles” that carry cholesterol in the blood. There are several kinds of lipoproteins. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is often called the “good” kind because it removes cholesterol from the bloodstream, carrying it to the liver. The “bad” kind of cholesterol is transported by low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This is the cholesterol that gets deposited inside the arteries, where it may build up over time and eventually block the flow of blood. High levels of LDL increase your risk of heart disease, while high HDL levels lower your risk.

Diet can affect levels of LDL and HDL in the blood, but there are no foods that contain these substances. A cholesterol screening usually tells you the total amount of cholesterol circulating in your blood, but not how much of it comes from HDL and LDL. If your total cholesterol level is over 200 mg/dl and you have other risk factors for heart disease, your doctor may request another blood test to find out what your HDL and LDL levels are. This test must be done after you fast for 12 hours. Talk with your doctor about how the various components of blood cholesterol affect your risk.

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Cholesterol HDL Cholesterol LDL Cholesterol

222

149–229

mg/di

72 140

mg/dl
mg/dl

30-80 60—178

I have trouble with my teeth and gums and have difficulty eating raw vegetables. How can I get enough fiber?

Things just don't taste good to me, so I have no interest in eating. What can I do to perk up my appetite?

Cooked vegetables and fruits also supply fiber in your diet, as do cooked cereals and baked goods that contain whole grains. These will be much easier to chew. See your dentist or ask for a referral to one who specializes in dental problems of older adults. Much can be done to help your teeth and gums to make eating a variety of foods more enjoyable.

People often find that their senses of taste and smell get duller as they age. As a result, they may overload their food with salt or even lose interest in food. Be creative with herbs, spices, and lemon juice. They all add flavor that can perk up your taste again. Experiment with different spices to see what appeals to you. You may even want to try growing fresh herbs, either in your garden or in a pot on a sunny windowsill. Trying new recipes and choosing colorful foods in a variety of textures may also add interest to your meals.

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I've never liked eating What can I eat to breakfast. Do I need to help my arthritis? eat breakfast to have

Unfortunately, there is no food that relieves a healthy diet?

the pain of arthritis, but scientists are doing a

lot of research in this area. You may see adIt's not necessary to eat a big meal first thing vertisements for food products or supplein the morning. The important goal is to eat ments that promise relief, but in truth they a balanced diet that includes foods from all won't help you. A balanced diet will conthe food groups each day. Set an eating pat tribute to your overall good health, and tern that works for you. For example, perhaps avoiding too much weight will put less strain you like a mid-morning snack instead of a for on your joints. There are also many simple mal breakfast. Just be sure to make it a tools such as jar openers that you can use to healthy snack, such as fruit and a muffin or help you with everyday tasks. Contact your toast. Often, people who skip meals eat too local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, many snacks filled with empty calories. listed in the telephone book, for more infor

mation.

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Can I always believe what I read in the newspaper?

How do I know when a claim that a food product or supplement cures diseases is true?

These claims can be dangerous because they often prevent users from getting the medical help they need. They also create false hopes and waste money. In general, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Suspect a product if it

New research about diet and health often gets in the newspaper or appears on the evening news, but no matter how promising or discouraging this news may be, making changes in your diet based on a single report is not wise. Government agencies and health organizations, such as the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services (USDA and DHHS), the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Heart Association, base their recommendations on dozens of studies carried out over many years. These groups continuously review new research findings and make recommendations only when there is widespread agreement among experts. Consult the resource list included in this bulletin for sources of more information.

• makes outrageous claims, like curing a dis

ease or reversing the aging process. No product or food has yet been proven to do either.

• promises immediate or fast results.

• does not list ingredients.

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