As we age, we must pay attention to our heart health. This kind of self-care will likely require changes in how you live and eat. A nutritious and well-balanced diet can help support a healthy heart and prevent cardiac-related illnesses.
So, while focusing on keeping your body and mind active, don’t forget to also keep an eye out for these heart-healthy foods.
Foods for Your Heart
When looking for heart-healthy foods, you’ll want to focus on foods high in antioxidants, soluble fiber, and healthy fats. Try to avoid unhealthy fats, such as trans and saturated fats, as well as added sugars and sodium. It’s also a good idea to watch portion sizes, as overeating can be harmful to your heart health.
Here are some foods to keep in your diet:
Oatmeal is an excellent source of soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber works by binding to cholesterol in the gut and removing it from the body.
Oatmeal is also a good source of other nutrients, including thiamin, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Salmon is a type of fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known for lowering the risk of heart disease by reducing inflammation and helping to lower blood pressure.
Salmon is also a good source of protein, vitamin D, and B vitamins.
Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, are packed with nutrients that are good for the heart. In addition, they are high in antioxidants, which some studies have shown to help protect against damage to cells and reduce inflammation.
Leafy greens are also a good source of potassium, which helps to regulate blood pressure.
Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. In addition, they are high in monounsaturated fats, which can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Some studies have also shown that nuts may help to lower blood pressure.
Avocado is another food high in healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Avocado is also a good source of potassium, which, as mentioned before, can help to regulate blood pressure.
Berries are high in antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage and reduce inflammation. They are also another good source of fiber, helping lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Some studies have also shown that berries may help to lower blood pressure.
Whole grains, such as quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat, are a good source of soluble fiber.
They are also a good source of other nutrients, including B vitamins and minerals.
Beans, such as black beans, kidney beans, and lentils, are a great source of protein, fiber, and nutrients. They are exceptionally high in soluble fiber, which can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Beans are also a good source of iron, folate, and other B vitamins.
It may seem hard to believe, but eating dark chocolate can help your heart health. It’s another food high in antioxidants and a good source of flavonoids, which can help lower blood pressure. Just be sure to choose dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa, and enjoy it in moderation.
A nice cup of green tea is not only relaxing, but it’s also full of antioxidants, including catechins and epicatechins. Some studies have also shown that green tea may help to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Other Factors in a Healthy Heart Lifestyle
Other lifestyle factors can help support a healthy heart as well. These include:
- Staying active: Regular physical activity can help to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, such as brisk walking.
- Managing stress: Chronic stress can increase the risk of heart disease, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress. This management could include meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
- Getting enough sleep: Lack of sleep can increase the risk of heart disease, making it vital to get enough restful sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours per night.
- Not smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease, so it’s vital to quit if you smoke. Many resources are available to help you quit, including nicotine replacement therapy and medications.
Maintaining your health is a constant process. It can be challenging, so it’s helpful to have any changes to your diet include foods you enjoy, not just ones you feel you have to eat. You can pick from various heart-healthy foods for your meals, so find the ones you like the best.
By incorporating these heart-healthy habits into your lifestyle, you can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and live a healthier, more vibrant life.
All American Assisted Living at Coram can support your journey to a healthier heart through meal plans and on-site care. Call us today if you’re wondering what life is like in our community.