The heart is a small but mighty organ. Although it’s just about the size of your fist, it beats about 115,000 times and pumps a vital 2,000 gallons of blood each day (source). Unfortunately, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. To support your heart’s health, start with your diet. As you age, your nutritional needs change, so head to the grocery store and fill your cart with these heart-healthy foods for seniors. You’ll find that eating healthy can be delicious and rewarding.
Heart-Healthy Foods for Seniors
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts aren’t just for birds and squirrels. Adding these snacks to your diet makes for an easy way to pack a ton of unsaturated healthy fats into your diet. However, some seeds and nuts are even better for your heart health than others. For example, walnuts contain a lot of fiber and micronutrients, and research even suggests that adding these nuts into your diet can reduce bad cholesterol (source). So the next time you’re craving a salty treat, try reaching for roasted nuts instead of potato chips. You’ll also get full quickly, thanks to the protein content.
Beans and Legumes
If you’re trying to lower your body’s cholesterol levels, swap out carnitas for black beans in your tacos. One review of 26 scientific studies found that people who ate a lot of beans and other legumes experienced significantly decreased levels of LDL cholesterol (source). Beans are a resistant starch, meaning the beneficial bacteria in your gut ferments beans. Some studies suggest that resistant starches reduce cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels (source).
If you’re craving something sweet, try eating berries. Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries contain heart-healthy antioxidants, which fight cell damage (source). Plus, berries are delicious, and it’s easy to add them to your diet. Try topping your yogurt, oatmeal, or salad with them – or eat them by themselves. You can also blend frozen berries with milk for a tasty smoothie that is good for your heart.
Instead of keeping a frozen pizza on hand for when you’re in a pinch, purchase frozen fish. Fish makes for a quick meal that is good for heart health. Out of all the fish, salmon, lake trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, and tuna contain the most omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure slightly, reduce blood clotting, and decrease stroke and heart failure risk (source). To thaw your fish, you can run it under lukewarm cold water for about five minutes. Then, fry it in a pan with some olive oil or bake it for a few minutes covered in lemon slices.
Avocados have been enjoying their time in the limelight lately. Word has gotten around that avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which lower your risk of heart disease. Like fish, avocados also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Try making avocado toast for breakfast, adding avocado slices to your salad or tacos, or even adding one to a smoothie.
Incorporating heart-healthy foods for seniors into your diet can be extremely beneficial. That said, it’s still okay to indulge in your favorite apple pie or a hamburger once in a while. Talk to your doctor about the 80/20 rule, which encourages people to eat healthy foods 80 percent of the time, and indulge in comfort foods 20 percent of the time.
At Springhouse Village, we understand the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle. That’s why we make it easy for our residents to be active participants in our community. Whether it’s encouraging our residents to enjoy the benefits of shopping at local farmers markets, providing places where they can practice and share their hobbies, or creating continuing education opportunities by connecting with local schools, we are continually striving to help our residents thrive. To learn more about the activities, amenities, and services we offer, contact Springhouse Village today.