Keeping our minds sharp and our bodies nourished gives us the energy to do what we love. One of the best ways to maintain our health is through diet. While a healthy diet is important at any age, it is especially important for seniors.
When seniors have a healthy diet, they reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and other health issues. So what kind of foods should you be eating?
There are plenty of delicious heart-healthy foods for seniors to incorporate into meals and snacks. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites.
9 Heart-Healthy Foods for Seniors
1. Lean Proteins
One of the most important sources of energy will come from your choice of protein. When considering what heart-healthy protein to choose, your best choice will be lean, skinless meats. This includes turkey and chicken.
Having a significant source of protein in your meal will help you feel satisfied and can help you feel full for a longer amount of time – which prevents snack cravings.
But you don’t have to just have plain turkey or chicken;dressing them up with fresh seasonings and herbs adds flavor without adding calories.
If you’re not a fan of meat, you can also look to fish as a main source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce blood clotting and the risk of heart failure. Salmon, cod, and Atlantic mackerel are all tasty options.
Having eggs in the morning is a great way to start the day with protein. You may have heard that eggs are related to high cholesterol, but it’s important to know that this correlation has a few explanations.
Many people pair their eggs with bacon, sausage, or ham – meats that can increase the risk of heart disease. Some may fry their eggs in oil or butter, which can also have a connection with heart disease.
Poached or boiled eggs are simple ways to prepare them without adding calories in the process. For those who want to avoid the cholesterol altogether, just eating the egg whites will give you the benefits of the egg’s protein but removes the cholesterol.
3. Spinach and Kale
Leafy green vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals and are easy to add to your diet. Try adding greens to a breakfast smoothie, scrambling eggs with cooked spinach, or making a salad containing a handful of spinach or kale for a nutrient boost.
4. Reduced-Fat Dairy Products
Choosing reduced-fat dairy products means you can still enjoy milk, yogurt, and cheese, but you’re not consuming the full fat that can raise cholesterol levels. Many reduced-fat dairy products can be a part of a satisfying snack. A reduced-fat cheese stick with vegetables can help you with afternoon cravings.
Beans are loaded with protein and fiber, can help you maintain a healthy weight, and help your heart by lowering cholesterol.
While you can simply add beans to a protein bowl or salad to get its benefits, you can also get creative. For example, making a black bean burger can help you reduce your red meat intake, which will benefit your heart because red meat can contribute to heart-health issues.
There’s also no shortage of recipes for different bean soups, which you can always adjust to your tastes.
Avocados contain healthy fats. Incorporating healthy fats in your diet is important, but what makes a fat “healthy?” The following are healthy fats to look for:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Monounsaturated fats
- Polyunsaturated fats
Avocados are a great example of a food with monounsaturated fat. Try adding some avocado to a salad to make it more satisfying, or use an avocado to make fresh guacamole.
Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries are all delicious, sweet, bite-size, and full of antioxidants that can prevent or delay cell damage.
While eating berries on their own may not be a satisfying snack, you can easily add other things to berries to get their antioxidant benefits and still feel full. You could mix berries into Greek yogurt, a good source of potassium that can lower blood pressure.
8. Almonds and Walnuts
Nuts are another great source of healthy fats. Almonds and walnuts are delicious and can add a satisfying crunch to a meal, or you can eat them by themselves as a snack.
Pairing nuts with fruit, including nuts to oatmeal in the morning, or putting a handful of nuts in a salad are all easy ways to add them to your diet.
Be careful to choose nuts that aren’t salted or candied, as the added salt and sugar are not heart-healthy.
9. Brown Rice
When you’re eating heart-healthy meals, you’re going to need something on your plate that helps you feel full. Opting for whole grains will give you the best health benefits. Brown rice provides dietary fiber and magnesium, which both reduce your risk of heart disease.
Other Ways To Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
A heart-healthy diet is one of the many ways to prevent heart disease and other health issues, but adding other healthy choices can make your overall well-being even better. Other ways to promote heart health in your life include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Managing stress
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Quitting smoking
When you create a lifestyle with a healthy diet and the points above, you’ll be well on your way to having a healthier heart.
Experience Senior Living at Canterbury Woods Williamsville
Canterbury Woods helps you keep your mind and body healthy through every aspect of life – even through food!