There are lots of visual reminders this time of the year that prompt us to think about that tremendously vital organ that works around the clock to keep us healthy! Store shelves are full of heart-shaped balloons, boxes of candy, and cards. Because it’s also American Heart Month, it’s a great time to learn about healthy foods for seniors and take steps to assist the older adults we love to protect and strengthen the heart.
What Are the Top Healthy Foods for Senior Heart Health?
Make sure the fridge and pantry are stocked with an abundance of these heart-healthy products:
Swap out the refined white flour and bread for whole wheat, oats, rye, or other whole grains. Not only are they a good source of fiber and other nutrients, but they also assist with regulating heart health and blood pressure.
Including fish in the diet several times per week helps boost levels of good cholesterol. Salmon and mackerel specifically are loaded with omega-3 fats. While fresh fish is delicious, canned and frozen varieties provide the same nutrients.
While they do contain cholesterol, they are chock full of protein and vitamins, and actually have a minimal effect on blood cholesterol. Speak with the doctor if the older adult is at risk for heart disease, but in most instances, consuming up to six eggs each week is a good rule of thumb.
Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds
These foods are known to decrease bad cholesterol, and are a terrific way to add protein into the diet as well. Chickpeas, kidney beans, and nuts are great as they are, but consider alternative ways to serve them, like nut butters and hummus.
Vegetables and Fruits
Variety is key, both in deep and bright colors: berries, melons, broccoli, peppers, kale, carrots, etc. Look for individual packages of prepared fruits and vegetables for a loved one who lives alone, or use larger quantities to prepare batches of chili, soup, or stew to freeze in smaller portions.
It is also important to be aware of what to avoid to protect the heart, such as:
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Too much salt
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Saturated and trans fats
- An unhealthy weight or BMI
Be mindful when eating out as well. Many restaurants include nutritional information on the menu or will provide it upon request. Meals high in sodium or unhealthy fats are common, so watch for heart-healthy choices.
At Anthem Home Care, a trusted provider of home care services in Portland, TX and the surrounding communities, our experienced and trained caregivers can help an older adult safeguard heart health in many ways, such as:
- Engaging in doctor-approved exercise programs and taking walks together
- Reminding seniors to take medications at the prescribed time
- Picking up prescriptions
- Providing transportation to medical tests, procedures, and appointments
- Grocery shopping for healthy foods and preparing nutritious meals, according to any prescribed dietary plan
- And more