Heart issues can indeed affect anyone, but the risk of cardiovascular disease goes up as you get older. According to the NCBI, more than 67% of people between the ages of 60–79 years suffer from some form of heart disease.
A healthy heart is a key to aging gracefully and continuing to live a healthy and productive life in your golden years. Keeping an active lifestyle and eating a healthy diet full of nutritious meals may lower your chance of having a heart attack, stroke, and many other cardiovascular diseases.
If you’re the caregiver of an older adult or a senior looking to boost your heart health, keep reading. We’ve listed some key nutrients to keep your heart healthy and strong.
Eat more vegetables and fruits
Including a good amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet is crucial for having a healthy heart. Eating a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure that you’re getting all the different nutrients your body needs.
Be careful to include starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and corn in moderation. Non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, beans, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, eggplant, and tomatoes are more nutrient-dense than their starchy counterparts.
The importance of whole grains
Whole grains are a great source of fiber! Soluble fibers are found in heart-healthy foods such as oats, beans, and ground flaxseed. These types of fiber dissolve in water and can help lower your cholesterol and regulate your blood sugar levels.
You can increase the amount of whole grains in your diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products. Instead of white, refined flour, opt for whole-wheat flour and high-fiber cereals.
Avoid processed foods
Processed and packaged foods tend to be high in saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars. The unhealthy fats found in these types of foods can raise bad cholesterol, and the sodium can increase blood pressure. This lethal combination may lead to cardiovascular disease.
According to the American Heart Association, your saturated fat intake should be less than 6% of your total daily calories. If you’re eating 2,000 calories a day, your maximum saturated fat intake should be about 11 to 13 grams.
Regarding trans fats, it is best to avoid them as best as you can. For instance, replace butter with olive or canola oil.
Opt for low-fat protein sources
Choose lower-fat options for your protein intake. Instead of having fried chicken, you can opt for eggs, beans, seafood, or lean meat.
Legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils are great low-fat sources of protein that contain no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat. Adding more plant-based protein to your diet may reduce your fat and cholesterol intake while increasing your fiber intake.
Fish that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, herring, or mackerel are also good alternatives to high-fat meats.
Beware of Salt (sodium)
Adding too much salt (sodium) to your diet can lead to high blood pressure, which increases the chances of having heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, most adults should have no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day. That’s less than a teaspoon of salt.
Most canned soups and prepared foods are high in sodium. It is better if you make your own soups and stews at home, choosing your condiments wisely.
Older adults are more likely to get dehydrated. It’s important to drink plenty of water to keep your heart healthy, it may help keep your heart from working too hard.
Unless it’s recommended by your doctor, try to keep fluids with sugar and salt to a minimum.
Plan your diet with a professional nutritionist
If you or an elderly loved one already have a heart condition, it’s best to work with a nutritionist. This professional will help you to choose the best nutrients according to your condition and age.
An in-home companion referral can help you stick to dietary recommendations! In addition, companions are wonderful at helping with your daily life activities.
Give us a call to learn more about companion care referral services and schedule a free in-home consultation at (786) 518-3622 Miami-Dade or (954) 949-1332 Broward. Our team is available to answer your phone call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including holidays. At 24/7 Nursing Care, we believe that your family is our family.