- Senior Living
15 Heart-Healthy Foods for Seniors to Enjoy
Healthy eating for seniors is not always top of mind, but it is especially important as we age. That’s because poor diet is a major risk factor for chronic diseases, disability, and death, with nearly two-thirds of seniors over the age of 65 in the U.S. consuming a poor diet. Improving nutrition for older adults is a conversation worth having, and it’s also important to remove the stigma that healthy food for older adults isn’t enjoyable. There are so many wonderful fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, proteins, dairy, and more to love!
Life Care Services® communities prepare a wide variety of delicious and healthy meals for seniors. It’s all about balance. When dietary restrictions allow, it’s okay to enjoy an ice cream cone or a piece of pizza! However, there are numerous heart-healthy foods for seniors that offer exciting flavors and excellent nutrition to not only provide flavor-filled taste but also health benefits.
Here are 15 foods for seniors that are great for the heart, body, and soul!
Yes, one of the best foods to promote heart health is filled with fat! Fish, such as salmon or tuna, contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which fight back against cardiovascular disease. Consider easy heart-healthy recipes for seniors with fish as a main course, prepared in the oven. For those who don’t enjoy seafood, fish oil supplements are available to receive your daily omega-3s.
Skinless Chicken, Turkey
Known as lean meats, skinless chicken and turkey with fresh herbs and spices are staples of low-sodium meals for seniors. With the skin removed, and without added salt, older adults consume meals that are healthy, especially if high blood pressure is a concern.
While eggs are high in cholesterol, they are nutritious and good for the heart when prepared properly and consumed in moderation. Avoid fried eggs and enjoy this protein without the yolk, which is where nearly all of the cholesterol is found.
A wonderful snack, walnuts (like fish) are filled with omega-3 fats and are a good choice to prevent heart problems. They are also an excellent source of fiber.
Filled with unsaturated fats, almonds are another healthy nut and should be enjoyed without the heavy salt and sugar, which can lead to heart health challenges. This nut is also a good snack for lowering what is classified as bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Choose unsalted or low-sodium cashews for heart-health benefits. The cashew has been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, it can help lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol ratings for some with type 2 diabetes.
From blueberries to strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cranberries, fruits of this variety are filled with nutritious antioxidants, fibers, vitamins, and of course, delicious juices! Meal preparation for seniors should include berries, especially on salads and low-fat yogurts.
Fresh fruits including pears and peaches are both highly nutritious and can promote heart health, as well as good digestion and anti-inflammation. However, it is important that those fruits be fresh and not canned in heavy syrups or glazes, which often contain lots of sugar.
Similar to pears and peaches, fresh apples and oranges are healthy foods for older adults, from the high fiber and potassium in oranges to polyphenols in apples. The same concern around canned apples and oranges applies. Dried fruits are also less healthy, as the process actually removes many of the healthy benefits.
Vegetables & Grains
Spinach, salad greens, fresh lettuce, kale, and many other types of leafy greens boost vitamins and vital nutrients to promote heart health. The best types of leafy green vegetables are usually dark greens. Leafy greens are a great foundation for senior cuisine, especially when preparing meals for those with high blood pressure or a high risk of cardiovascular disease.
A colorful, tasty snack or addition to many dishes, carrots are filled with heart-healthy qualities. Carrots reduce bad cholesterol which can lead to heart disease and is a sought-after food when weight loss is a goal.
The inclusion of whole grains in senior diets helps reduce heart concerns, including the effects of type 2 diabetes. Whole grains include brown rice, bran, oatmeal, barley, sorghum, and many other varieties.
While even low or reduced-fat milk still contains unhealthy fats, consuming it in moderation (usually two or three servings per day) will provide heart-healthy benefits, like calcium intake. It is best to avoid flavored milk, which often adds unhealthy fat and sugar.
Many delicious kinds of cheese are prepared with reduced-fat options which limit the trans fats and saturated fats often contained in traditional cheeses. When consumed in limited quantities, reduced-fat cheeses can be a part of a heart-healthy diet.
While traditional butter does contain calcium and vitamin D, it is also filled with high-fat content. Consider healthy alternatives to butter such as avocado spread, vegetable-oil spreads, nut butters, or other substitutes.
Enjoy Delicious Meals and Welcoming Communities with Life Care Services
Healthy food for seniors should never compromise quality, taste, and the ability to find joy in a wonderful meal. Professional culinary experts at more than 130 Life Care Services communities across the U.S. prepare dishes so residents enjoy every bite. We also know that food is about more than just nutrition – it’s also about friendship and family. Share a healthy meal with those you love and get to know new friends around the dinner table. We’re always here to help you with senior living support, so find a community today!