Keeping your heart healthy into your golden years and beyond is a worthy goal. Since heart disease is the top cause of death in older adults, it’s wise to do everything possible to boost your heart health. The good news is, like any other body muscle, the heart is susceptible to healthy lifestyle changes. It’s especially important to make sure you’re eating foods that support your heart instead of weakening it. Here are some of the top heart-healthy foods for seniors that Elder Care Alliance recommends eating.
Oats contain soluble fiber that can help lower your risk of heart disease by helping you manage your cholesterol. It’s also a filling breakfast that can help with weight management by satisfying your appetite longer than most breakfast cereals. Oats and other whole grains are an important part of any heart-healthy diet.
Salmon and other fatty fish are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can prevent the arteries from hardening and lower triglycerides. These benefits make salmon and other similar fish some of the best heart-healthy foods for seniors.
According to research, green tea may lower your risk of heart disease because of its high antioxidant content. The antioxidants in green tea help the arteries maintain their flexibility, which is important for heart health. Blood vessel function may respond positively within 30 minutes of consuming green tea.
Like green tea, berries are packed with antioxidants. They also contain heart-healthy fiber and are an excellent addition to any senior’s diet. All berries are good for the heart, including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
Spinach is well-known as one of the most nutritious leafy green vegetables. It’s not only one of the best heart-healthy foods for seniors, but it’s also an exceptional ingredient for overall physical and mental health.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain nutrients like calcium, beta-carotene, folate, and other vitamins and minerals. These nutrients can improve the health of the heart and blood vessels. Broccoli can be rough on the stomach when eaten raw, so enjoy it cooked if you are sensitive to its raw form.
Carrots are not only delicious, but they’re also exceptionally good for the heart (thanks to their carotene content). Studies show that people who consume diets high in beta-carotene have a lower risk of stroke and heart disease.
Walnuts and almonds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which makes them some of the best heart-healthy foods for seniors. As discussed earlier in this guide, these fatty acids are good for heart function. Walnuts and almonds also contain vitamin E, calcium, and other nutrients known to support heart health.
Beans like black beans and kidney beans are rich in fiber, B vitamins, calcium and other heart-boosting nutrients. Enjoy them on salads, in soups or as a side dish.
Most people enjoy learning dark chocolate is good for their heart health. It’s full of cocoa phenols and resveratrol, both associated with decreased blood pressure. Just be sure to reach for the dark chocolate, not the milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has lower fat and a higher cocoa content than milk chocolate.
In our Elder Care Alliance communities, our experienced culinary service teams create menus that emphasize taste, quality, and freshness — and focus on lean protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit — while also accommodating most dietary needs. In addition, a registered dietitian supports our dining programs across all communities, ensuring our residents eat well and have the proper assistance if needed.