Authored by: Sarah Walker, Editor, RespectCaregivers.org Photo from Canva Pro
“You are what you eat” – no truer words have been said when it comes to the health of your heart. According to the Center of Disease Control, excessive saturated and trans fats and cholesterol increases the likelihood of heart disease.
One of the easiest ways of controlling what you eat is by being aware of how you shop for food and groceries. After all, if something does not find its way into your shopping cart, it is almost certainly not going to land up on your dinner plate.
Let us give you some easy tips that you can follow while shopping to keep your heart healthy.
- Buy colorful fruits and vegetables
Introducing color into your selection of fruits and vegetables is one of the easiest and most visual ways of shopping for a healthy heart. Different fruits have different nutrients. Color can be taken as a proxy for density of nutrients in a fruit or vegetable. When in the fresh produce aisle, look around and see how many colors you can include in your cart.
- Go for low fat dairy and meat
When picking up dairy items like milk, yogurt or cheese, look for low fat options. 2% fat (the lesser the better) is a good place to start.
Lean and skinless cuts of meat tend to be lower fat. If you like ground meat, look for options that have less than 20% fat. Your heart will love you if you can replace red meat (or poultry) with fish. Omega 3 fatty acids in fish like trout and salmon are excellent for your heart’s health.
If you do not like the taste of low fat dairy or meat, try to keep at it. In a few weeks of trying, it is quite likely that your taste buds will get as used to the taste of low fat products as they are used to their higher fat cousins.
- Replace snacks with healthier options like nuts and seeds
84% of older Americans, aged 65 or more snack at least once a day. If these snacks are not chosen wisely, the bag of chips or even that healthy looking granola bar will only put in high density fats and carbohydrates in your body.
Look to replace your snacks with nuts and seeds. Not only do they taste good, nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans etc are brimming with proteins, fiber, Vitamin E and trace minerals like Magnesium, Phosphorous, Copper, Manganese and Selenium.
Nuts are also rich in anti oxidants. They act against the free radicals that are generated inside the body which can hasten aging.
If you can, choose the unsalted variety of nuts over the salted ones. You also want to be kind to your heart by limiting your salt intake.
- Use frozen or canned fruits and vegetables
Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables can be a great option in the off season when your favorite produce is not available. If you find the price of fresh produce to be too expensive during certain times of the year, their canned counterparts are a good replacement.
While canned produce may not taste the same as fresh fruits and vegetables, they are close substitutes when it comes to their nutrient content
If you have never done that in the past, eating for a healthy heart might seem daunting at first. So, start with small steps and build up your routine with time. Combining these tips with an exercise regime tailored for seniors should keep you healthier and more energetic in your golden years.