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Senior Page 1-22-11

Can margarine lower cholesterol?

Look in any grocery store and you can find margarines that claim to provide cholesterol-lowering benefits. Do these products really work and how do these foods fit into a healthful eating plan?

Research shows margarines made from two different phytochemicals can reduce LDL, also know as "bad cholesterol." The plant compounds that interfere with the absorption of cholesterol are plant sterols and stanols. These compounds are used in Food and Drug Administration-approved margarines and have been found to help lower the LDL cholesterol, without lowering HDL, the "good cholesterol."

Adding one of these margarines to your eating plan might be worth the extra calories, but margarines alone can't lower cholesterol. That starts with an overall diet that is low in total fat, especially saturated fat.

Your aging eyes

As more Americans head toward retirement and beyond, scientists expect the number of people with age-related eye problems to rise dramatically. You can't prevent all age-related changes to your eyes. But you can take steps to protect your vision and reduce your risk for serious eye disease in the future. Effective treatments are now available for many disorders that may lead to blindness or visual impairment. You can also learn how to make the most of the vision you have.

Protect Your Vision

* Have a comprehensive eye exam each year after age 50

* Stop smoking

* Eat a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish

* Exercise

* Maintain normal blood pressure

* Control diabetes if you have it

* Wear sunglasses and a brimmed hat any time you're outside in bright sunshine

* Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing work around the house that may cause eye injury

Hands-on skill for caregivers

When you're a caregiver, finding time to take care of your own physical needs is difficult enough, but taking care of the physical needs of someone else is even more challenging. Assisting someone else to dress, bathe, sit or stand when they are upset, agitated or combative-often the case when caring for someone with a brain disorder such as Alzheimer's disease - requires special strategies. The following five techniques can make taking care of a loved one's physical needs easier.

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