Over six million Americans have heart failure, most of whom are aged 65+. Sadly, heart failure accounts for roughly one out of every eleven heart disease-related deaths in the U.S. Thankfully, there are ways to lower a senior’s risk of getting heart failure – or more efficiently managing their existing heart failure – starting with their food intake. February 12 – 18, 2023, is Heart Failure Awareness Week, making it the perfect time to fill your aging loved one’s plate with these nutritious, heart-healthy foods.
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure, or congestive heart failure (CHF), occurs when the heart can no longer pump sufficient blood and oxygen to support the body’s other organs. While heart failure is a serious medical condition, a diagnosis does not mean that the patient’s heart has stopped beating entirely.
Although there is no cure, many people with heart failure lead fulfilling lives by managing the disease with medications, implantable devices, and healthy lifestyle changes – including exercise and diet. Having the support of informal caregivers such as family and friends is also highly beneficial for someone living with CHF.
Heart-Healthy Food Ideas for Seniors
Be sure to include these nutritious, delicious foods in your aging loved one’s heart-healthy diet:
Great in smoothies or alone as a healthy snack, berries are high in antioxidants and fiber, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and several essential vitamins. Try serving your senior blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
Tuna and salmon are chocked full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce the likelihood of irregular heartbeats, elevated triglycerides, and artery hardening.
Enriched with beta-carotene, fiber, folate, calcium, and vitamins C and E, broccoli can be cooked into numerous dishes or eaten raw with healthy dips.
In addition to Omega-3s, black beans and kidney beans contain heart-healthy ingredients that include calcium, fiber, B-complex vitamins, niacin, magnesium, and folate.
Walnuts and almonds
Along with Omega-3 fatty acids, these popular nuts also contain calcium, magnesium, fiber, vitamin E, and heart-favorable monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Recent studies have shown a link between higher levels of beta-carotene and lower rates of heart disease and stroke. Raw or steamed carrots are a great source of carotenes, including beta-carotene.
According to a 2015 Harvard Health Letter, antioxidants (flavonoids) found in green tea can prevent plaque buildup by helping arteries stay flexible longer. Additional research indicates that blood vessel function may improve after drinking only one cup of green tea – making it a staple in any heart-healthy diet.
Red bell peppers
Much like fresh broccoli and carrots, red bell peppers are a quick snack fortified with carotenes, along with folate, potassium, fiber, and B-complex vitamins.
In addition to building stronger muscles like Popeye, the calcium, folate, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene found in spinach are good for one’s heart. Folate (vitamin B-9) is also essential for building and maintaining healthy red blood cells.
Brown rice is loaded with B-complex vitamins, magnesium, and fiber – all of which help protect the heart. Oats and oatmeal are affordable, versatile breakfast foods containing high levels of protein and fiber, making them ideal for managing cholesterol on a retirement budget.
Soy or almond milk is a healthy dairy alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or want to reduce their fat intake. When used in place of cow’s milk, almond milk is rich in vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium. As another option, soy milk contains heart-healthy calcium, folate, magnesium, potassium, and B-complex vitamins.
In-Home Dietary Support for Seniors in South Bend, IN
Convincing aging loved ones to eat healthier from a distance can be frustrating. When you need a hand, contact the in-home dietary support specialists at Senior1Care. We are your trusted partner in providing quality, compassionate home care services to seniors living in Granger, Osceola, Mishawaka, and the greater South Bend area. Our experienced caregivers are trained to deliver professional, reliable care in the same respectful and friendly manner that they would treat their family members.
At Senior1Care, we understand that having a caregiver in your loved one’s home is a decision that requires trust. Our goal is to build relationships with clients by listening to their needs and providing the highest level of quality care possible. We are committed to helping your loved ones maintain their well-being, independence, and comfort. To learn more about our flexible caregiving options or schedule a FREE assessment for a senior in the greater South Bend, IN, area, visit us by clicking here now.