There are lots of visual reminders around this time of the year that prompt us to take into account that incredibly vital organ that works 24/7 to keep us healthy! Store shelves are filled with heart-shaped balloons, boxes of candy, and cards. Since it’s also American Heart Month, it is a great time to take steps to help the seniors we love to protect and strengthen the heart.
What Are the Best Foods for Older Adults and Their Hearts?
Be sure the pantry and fridge are stocked with lots of these heart-healthy items:
Including fish in the diet a couple of times per week helps increase levels of good cholesterol. Mackerel and salmon specifically are loaded with omega-3 fats. Although fresh fish is delicious, canned and frozen options offer the same nutrients.
Although they do contain cholesterol, they are chock full of protein and vitamins, and actually have a minimal influence on blood cholesterol. Check with the physician if the person is at risk for cardiovascular disease, but in most cases, eating up to six eggs per week is a good rule of thumb.
Fruits and Vegetables
Variety is key, both in bright and deep colors: melons, berries, peppers, kale, broccoli, carrots, etc. Look for individual packages of prepared vegetables and fruit for an older adult who lives alone, or use larger quantities to prepare batches of chili, soup, or stew to freeze in smaller portions.
Seeds, Legumes, and Nuts
These foods have been shown to lower bad cholesterol, and are a wonderful way to add protein into the diet as well. Chickpeas, kidney beans, and nuts are great as they are, however, consider alternative ways to serve them, such as nut butters and hummus.
Replace refined white flour and bread for whole wheat, rye, oats, or other whole grains. Not only are they a good source of fiber and other nutrients, but they also help with regulating blood pressure and heart health.
It’s also important to know what to avoid to safeguard the heart, most notably:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Saturated and trans fats
- An unhealthy weight or BMI
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Too much salt
Use caution when eating out as well. Many restaurants include nutritional information on the menu or will provide it upon request. Meals high in salt or unhealthy fats are not unusual, so watch for heart-healthy choices.
At Abby Senior Care, a provider of home care in Highlands Ranch, CO and the surrounding areas, our experienced and trained caregivers can help an older adult maintain heart health in a variety of ways, such as:
- Providing transportation to medical appointments, tests, and procedures
- Picking up prescriptions
- Grocery shopping and planning and preparing nutritious meals, in accordance with any prescribed dietary plan
- Reminding older adults to take medications at the prescribed time
- Engaging in doctor-approved exercise programs and taking walks together
- And more
Reach out to us at 303-699-8840 to get more information about the best foods for older adults, ideas to help older adults stay healthy, or to learn how our in-home care services can improve health and quality of life for someone you love.