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A senior woman and man sitting down at a dinner table and smiling while the woman serves salad

Top Heart-Healthy Foods for Senior Adults

As we age, our bodies become more vulnerable to various illnesses, including heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. Fortunately, a healthy diet plays a crucial role in preventing and managing heart conditions, and it’s a significant part of living a full life in our golden years.

To support a healthy heart for senior adults, try filling your diet with fatty fish, berries, whole grains, leafy greens, and other foods high in antioxidants. You may be surprised what delicious foods are part of a nutritious dining experience!

Foods for a Heart-Healthy Diet

Healthy Fats

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that can reduce triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, all of which contribute to heart disease. You can primarily find it in fatty fish, so aim to eat at least 2 servings per week to nourish your heart. 

Excellent sources of omega-3 include:

  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Albacore tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Fish oil supplements

For vegetarians and vegans out there, fish aren’t the only option. Plant-based sources of omega-3 include:

  • Flaxseeds
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans and tofu
  • Canola or soy oil

Berries

Berries are packed with antioxidants, which can help protect your heart by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Add them to your cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal for a delicious, heart-healthy breakfast. Heart-healthy berries include:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries

Whole Grains

Whole grains are fiber-rich, which may reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. Try to replace refined grains with whole grains whenever possible. You can usually tell if you’re eating whole grains by checking the package and looking for “whole” or “whole grain” on the nutrition label.

Whole grain foods include:

  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Popcorn

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are known for their high concentrations of vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that helps protect your body against the damaging effects of free radicals. It can also help reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow. Citrus fruits are also packed with heart-healthy nutrients such as soluble fiber and flavonoids.

Excellent citrus fruits to add to your diet include:

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Grapefruits
  • Limes

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may lower your risk of heart disease. Plus, they’re a great source of dietary nitrates, which could reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow.

Leafy green vegetables include:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collard greens

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats, fiber, and protein, which may help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. Moreover, they’re easy to put in a bag or bowl while watching TV, making them an excellent heart-healthy snack.

Excellent nuts and seed choices for heart health include:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds

If sodium is a concern, choose unsalted varieties to keep your intake low.

Dark Chocolate

Who doesn’t love indulging in some dark chocolate? Dark chocolate is loaded with flavonoids, which act as powerful antioxidants. Research has shown these flavonoids may reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure levels. Inflammation and high blood pressure are crucial risk factors for developing heart disease.

While this doesn’t mean you can throw back chocolate bars with abandon, eating small amounts of dark chocolate regularly may help improve heart functions, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. You should choose dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao (70% or higher) to reap the most significant health benefits.

Close-up of a senior woman with short hair holding up a fish oil pill in her right hand against an orange backgroundEssential Vitamins for Heart Health

There are plenty of foods that can support a healthy heart. Your doctor or health care practitioner can help you make the right choice, but it’s good to find foods that you think are delicious. It’s much easier to keep a diet you enjoy rather than one you feel obligated to follow.

Whatever you’re eating, these are some of the vitamins you should focus on for cardiovascular health:

Vitamin B6

One of the most essential vitamins for heart health in seniors is vitamin B6, which can help with metabolism and the creation of red blood cells and neurotransmitters. Our bodies don’t naturally produce vitamin B6, so it must be consumed from outside sources. 

Vitamin D

While vitamin D primarily comes from the sun, you can also find it in salmon or fortified dairy products. More research is needed, but some studies suggest this vitamin supports healthy blood pressure and may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 for short, is an antioxidant that supports heart health by improving energy metabolism, reducing oxidative stress, and supporting blood flow. As we age, the levels of CoQ10 in our bodies decrease, so it’s essential to supplement our diets with this nutrient.

Vitamin C

Last but not least, vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant that may help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve blood vessel function, all of which benefit our heart’s health.

Generally, it’s better to get your daily intake of vitamins and minerals from food if you can, as they contain other vital nutrients. Supplements are an option, but you should never begin taking them without first consulting your doctor.

The Heart of the Matter

A healthy diet is essential for maintaining a healthy heart, especially as we age. By incorporating more vitamin-rich foods into your meals and snacks, you can nourish your body with the nutrients it needs to keep your heart strong and healthy.

This is why at La Vida Llena, we focus on dining experiences that are nutritious—and delicious! We offer 3 high-quality restaurant-style dining rooms that cater to health needs and dietary restrictions. If you want to learn more about living the full life, contact us and meet the staff ready to serve you.

And remember, small changes can make a big difference, so start by incorporating a few of these heart-healthy foods into your diet today!

A senior woman and man sitting down at a dinner table and smiling while the woman serves salad

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