There are many visual reminders around this time of year that prompt us to think about that tremendously vital organ that works around the clock to help keep us healthy! Store shelves are full of heart-shaped balloons, boxes of candy, and cards. Since it’s also American Heart Month, it’s an ideal time to take steps to assist the older adults we love to maintain heart health.
What Are the Very Best Foods to Maintain Heart Health?
Make sure the fridge and pantry are stocked with plenty of these heart-healthy foods:
Fruits and Vegetables
Variety is key, both in bright and deep colors: melons, berries, broccoli, peppers, kale, carrots, etc. Look for individual packages of prepared vegetables and fruits for a loved one who lives alone, or use larger quantities to cook batches of chili, soup, or stew to freeze in smaller servings.
Replace the refined white flour and bread with whole wheat, oats, rye, or other whole grains. Not only are they a good source of fiber along with other nutrients, but they also assist with regulating heart health and blood pressure.
Seeds, Legumes, and Nuts
These foods have been shown to reduce bad cholesterol, and are also a great way to add protein into the diet as well. Kidney beans, nuts, and chickpeas are great as they are, but consider alternative ways to serve them, for example, nut butters and hummus.
While they do contain cholesterol, eggs are chock full of vitamins and protein, and actually have a minimal influence on blood cholesterol. Check with the doctor if the older adult is at risk for heart disease, but in most cases, consuming up to six eggs each week is a good rule of thumb.
Including fish in the diet a few times per week helps boost levels of good cholesterol. Salmon and mackerel in particular are rich in omega-3 fats. Although fresh fish is delicious, canned and frozen options provide the same nutrients.
It’s also important to know what to avoid to protect the heart, such as:
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Saturated and trans fats
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- An unhealthy weight or BMI
- 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 common, so watch for heart-healthy choices.
At Morning Glory Home Care, a trusted provider of Highland senior home care and care throughout the surrounding areas, our experienced and trained caregivers can help an older adult safeguard heart health in many ways, including:
- Reminding older adults to take medications at the prescribed time
- Engaging in physician-approved exercise programs and taking walks together
- Grocery shopping and planning and preparing nutritious meals, in accordance with any prescribed dietary plan
- Picking up prescriptions
- Providing transportation to medical tests, procedures, and appointments
- And more
Email or call us at 618-667-8400 for additional suggestions to help older adults remain healthy, or to find out how our in-home care services can improve health and quality of life for someone you love.