Five Heart-Healthy Foods That Should Be On Every Senior’s Table
Because of advances in health care, nutrition, and technology, today's senior citizens are enjoying long, active retirements. Many are choosing to age in place in their own homes, which means that they sometimes require home care assistance, through a place like Always Dependable, to retain an optimal quality of life. Home health care aids provide a variety of household services and are often responsible for meal preparation, grocery shopping, and menu planning. Heart-healthy foods should be an important part of every senior's daily diet. Following are five nutritious and delicious foods that home health care providers can easily incorporate into the diets of those in their care.
Frequently referred to as nature's candy, these sweet superfruits are packed full of heart-healthy compounds and may be instrumental in lowering the risk of cardiac arrest. Many ways exist to enjoy these delectable morsels -- they can be stirred into oatmeal, which has heart-healthy properties in its own right, baked into muffins or pancakes, sprinkled over yogurt, or simply enjoyed by the handful as a between-meal snack.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel contain substantial amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats have been discovered to lower blood pressure, decrease cholesterol levels, and reduce risks of cardiac arrhythmias. Tuna salads and sandwiches provide excellent ways to include fatty fish in the diet, and grilled tuna steaks are simple to prepare. You don't have to be a culinary wizard to properly prepare mackerel or salmon -- both can easily be pan fried with a bit of olive oil or brushed with honey mustard dressing, wrapped in foil, and baked in the oven.
Starting the day with a hot bowl of oatmeal is an excellent way to help keep the heart and circulatory system healthy. Oats contain a type of fiber known as beta-glucan that serves to lower cholesterol levels. Oats also contain antioxidants that may be instrumental in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. They can be used as an ingredient in muffins, breads, and everyone's favorite, oatmeal cookies. Those who don't care for hot cereal can opt for one of the many delicious cold cereal options. There are many ways besides oatmeal to include oats in the daily diet.
Although it may sound too good to be true, dark chocolate is good for the heart in more ways than one. Cocoa beans contain antioxidants that help protect tissues from environmental damage at the cellular level. However, not just any chocolate serves this purpose -- sugary milk chocolate and caramel found in most commercially produced candy products and desserts do not have significant cocoa amounts to have any effect on heart health. Choose dark chocolate that contains few added ingredients. This can be enjoyed in small amounts as an after meal treat or afternoon delight and requires no special preparation methods -- simply unwrap, relax, and savor.
Citrus fruits contain flavonoids that promote good cardiovascular health by neutralizing free radicals. They help prevent cholesterol formation and help keep blood flowing freely by decreasing chances of blood clots. So many different citrus options exist that there's bound to be something for every taste. Those who don't care for the tart tang of grapefruit, for instance, can opt for a sweet clementine instead. Whole citrus fruits as well as juices make excellent additions to any meal, but avoid processed fruit juices that contain added sugar. For optimal benefits, take a few moments to juice the fruit yourself -- small, inexpensive hand juicers available for purchase in supermarket aisles are all that's necessary for this purpose.
Even if your senior has no known current cardiovascular issues, you can't go wrong with a bit of nutrition-based prevention, especially when it tastes delicious.