Monday, February 2, 2015

Foods to Support Senior Heart Health

The foods that you eat can have a vast impact on your health. Not getting enough vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can be detrimental. The body needs a well-balanced diet to function properly and ward of illness, injury, and disease. Your diet can also play a role in heart health which can be a major concern for seniors worried about heart disease. Monitoring what you are eating can help to boost health and reduce risk of heart disease. Here are some things to keep in mind for a heart healthier diet:

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Not only are they low in calories and high in essential nutrients and antioxidants, many are also high in fiber. Whether you enjoy them as a salad, side dish, or snack, there are many ways to incorporate them into your diet. Try to get a wide range of colors as well because each one contains different vitamins and minerals.
  • Green Tea: Replace coffee or soda with green tea which has beneficial antioxidants and flavinols. It contains a small amount of natural caffeine but will not cause the same impact as coffee.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These are good source of fat. They can be found in a variety of fish, nuts, flaxseed, and canola oil. You can also take supplements including fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids help to fight inflammation and protect the heart.
  • Dark Chocolate: Just because you’re eating healthier does not mean you have to ward off all sweets. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate each day can cut the risk of heart disease.
  • Whole Grains: Avoid processed white flours and choose whole grains instead. Oatmeal and brown rice can be good options as well as pastas, bread, and other baked goods main with whole grain. Whole grains can also be a good source of fiber.
  • Low Fat: Limit the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Try to consume poly- or monounsaturated fats instead.  Choose lean means and low-fat dairy products. You can still eat meat, just select healthier cuts and stick to recommended serving sizes.
  • Red Wine: In moderation, red wine can boost heart health and protect arteries. One five-ounce glass per day is plenty. Drinking more than this can lead to other health problems.

Try to shop around the outer perimeter of the grocery store where the fresh foods are located. Replacing processed meals with healthier versions containing fresh ingredients can support heart health. Pay attention to your sodium and cholesterol intake as well. Offer to take your senior shopping to help them make good choices and find the foods they are looking for. If you are unavailable, consider an in-home care provider that can take your senior to the store and help with light meal preparations. Having a wide variety of healthy options can cut back on unhealthy choices and promote better heart health.

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