As you grow older, your risks for serious heart health issues typically increase. It’s important to know that you can take steps to limit or even reduce these risks. One common recommendation is to pay close attention to the foods you eat. Unfortunately, the idea of heart-healthy eating may sound unappealing to some seniors. That can be especially true if you equate heart-healthy foods with a lower-quality culinary experience. But in reality, there’s a good chance that you will find health-supporting options that meet your particular food tastes.
Contact Parkway Place at 281.305.1846 to learn more about senior nutrition.
What Is Heart-Healthy Food?
What do we mean when we call a food heart-healthy? Foods for a healthy heart help support the sound function of your cardiovascular system. At the same time, a diet that emphasizes heart health will exclude high amounts of certain foods. Foods that support good heart health include essential nutrients such as:
- Soluble fiber
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Foods that you may want to limit in order to protect your heart include saturated and trans fats. They also include items that contain high amounts of cholesterol and sodium.
Why Are Heart-Healthy Foods Important for Seniors?
Foods for healthy heart function are important at all ages. However, they can be especially important for senior adults. Why? As you age, your heart and blood vessels may not work as efficiently as they did when you were younger. In addition, they may undergo certain changes that decrease your heart health. Common examples of these changes include:
- High blood pressure
- The accumulation of plaque on your artery walls
- Hardening of your arteries, i.e., arteriosclerosis
- Narrowing of your arteries
These factors help explain seniors’ increased risks for certain cardiovascular problems. The list of such problems includes coronary artery disease, heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.
Consumption of a heart-healthy diet can help decrease your risks for these serious health issues. That’s especially true if you get regular exercise and undertake other recommended lifestyle changes.
Heart-Healthy Foods for Seniors
What are some examples of specific heart-healthy foods for older adults? Items that fit this definition include:
- Black beans and kidney beans
- Tuna and salmon
- Whole grains
- Various berry species, including blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
- Dark chocolate
- Walnuts and almonds
Why are these heart-healthy foods? Each of them contains at least one of the key nutrients known to support proper heart function. Many of them contain two or more such nutrients.
Preparation of Heart-Healthy Foods for Seniors
Preparation has a significant impact on the actual value of foods for a healthy heart. For example, if you eat heart-healthy food in a highly processed form, it may lose some of its protective benefits. The same thing can happen if you overcook foods for a healthy heart.
As a rule, experts recommend eating health-supporting foods with as little preparation as possible. In some cases, this may mean eating them raw. It may also mean limiting the cooking time of heart-healthy food.
Learn More About Heart-Healthy Senior Nutrition at Parkway Place
Have more questions about heart-healthy food choices for seniors? Talk to the professionals at Parkway Place. Our staff of senior living specialists includes experienced nutrition counselors. These experts will be glad to provide you with the information you need to make wise decisions.
An enjoyable, healthy dining experience is a top priority at Parkway Place. We feature a broad range of tasty, appealing foods that also help you meet your dietary needs. To learn more about our dining and nutrition services, call us today at 281.305.1846. You can also reach us through our online contact form.