How to eat to improve heart conditions, and live a healthy lifestyle
Many of our patients experience heart health problems. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women and those of almost all ethnic groups!
Cardiovascular diseases are heart conditions that distort normal heart functioning. This includes diseased blood vessels, structural problems of the heart organ, and blood clots.
Some common heart health diseases include:
- Coronary Artery Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Cardiac Arrest
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Peripheral Artery Disease
- Congenital Heart Disease
These conditions vary in complexity, and range from mild to severe impacts on the day to day life of patients who experience these heart diseases. Learn more about these diseases and how we can help your senior parent with heart disease at home.
At Specialized Nursing Services, we take pride in supporting healthy lifestyles for our patients, especially those with heart diseases.
One of the most powerful impacts we can have on our general health, and to improve challenging heart conditions, is to eat properly.
Change your Diet
The old adage ‘you are what you eat,’ could not be more relevant for those suffering from heart diseases.
While it may come as a surprise, most of the good nutrients we need can come from a completely plant based diet. As a matter of fact, the Mayo Clinic claims, ‘eating more plant-based foods can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.’
With that in mind, we highly suggest and support our patients in adopting a diet that is as close to plant based as possible.
Heart Healthy Diet – for Seniors and for Everyone!
A plant-based diet for a healthy heart (and great general health) is made up of:
60% fresh fruits and vegetables (local, in-season produce is best!) This should be split fairly evenly between fresh fruits and produce leafy greens, root vegetables.
30% protein-rich foods (like beans, nuts, avocado, tofu)
10% healthy starches or carbohydrates (potatoes, quinoa, oat or cassava flour)
In addition to these foods, it is good to incorporate nutrient-dense foods, like algaes, and seaweeds, spices and other superfood supplements. Similarly, small amounts of healthy fats, like avocado oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil are part of a well-balanced diet.
Foods to Avoid
Dairy is a substance that is hard to digest for most human beings at the gut level. Because the body needs certain good bacterias, it is suggested to replace dairy products (which affect pH level) with healthy yeasts like those found in kombucha, and fermented foods like pickled vegetables.
Salt is known to be a leading cause of heart disease as it relates to diet. When we cut down sodium intake through diet, we lower high blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
Processed foods are typically packed with ingredients and chemicals we do not want to consume. Eating for a healthy heart means cutting down on processed foods, or cutting them out completely.
Try to eliminate filler foods, that are carb or sugar-based like:
- Sugary Cereals
Eating for Heart Health
Seniors with heart disease are at an increased health risk. It is important to eat a healthy (mostly plant-based) diet to maintain long term wellness.
Our certified in-home caregivers will help your senior parent make healthy eating choices, and even prepare simple healthy meals. Learn more about heart healthy diets for your aging parent today.