As we are approaching February, which is American Heart Month, let’s talk about heart healthy foods that older adults can add to their diets. This is also your reminder that we are non-medical. We do not give medical advice. If you have any specific concerns about your diet and your health, please speak with a registered dietician. This is meant to be general education. Also, be sure to check out this article, “Heart-healthy foods: What to eat and what to avoid” by Jenette Restivo for Harvard Health Publishing.

Stick to Whole Grains

This is something that you incorporate into your whole diet (pun unintended). You can stick to whole grain cereal and breakfast breads, and whole grain pastas for dinner. Now, is the sky going to fall if you eat whole grain pastas and whole grain English muffins but prefer white bread for sandwiches? No. Of course, if your doctor tells you to only eat whole grains, that’s an entirely different discussion. Jenette Restivo includes all of these items in her list of heart healthy grains as well.

Be Careful of Trans Fat and Saturated Fat

The purpose of avoiding trans fat and lowering your intake of saturated fats is to “reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in the arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke,” according to the Mayo Clinic’s article, “Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to reduce heart disease.” So you’re going to want to avoid processed foods with a lot of fats, like processed meats, in favor of foods that are high in healthy fats like avocados.

Ask Your Caregivers for Help

If your caregivers make meals as part of their duties, they should be able to adapt when your diet changes, as long as you have the right ingredients. Our caregivers can also accompany you to the grocery store, if that is a barrier for you.

We will be discussing more heart health tips this February, so stay tuned!