What older adults eat can make a big difference in their overall health. Many conditions respond favorably to dietary changes, including heart disease. After an older adult has a heart attack or other heart-related event, their doctor will probably advise them to follow a heart healthy diet. Unfortunately, making those kinds of changes may not be as easy as it sounds. In fact, for some people it can be very difficult to change the way they eat. In addition, family caregivers and the older adult may be confused about what it means to eat a heart healthy diet. Below are some tips to help them make the changes that can improve their health.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
A heart healthy diet is one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Other foods to eat are whole grains, low-fat and fat-free dairy, and lean proteins. The USDA’s Choose My Plate program (choosemyplate.gov) offers guidance on what kinds of foods comprise a healthy diet and how much of each should be eaten. It suggests that a healthy plate is made up as follows:
• Half of the plate is filled with fruits and vegetables.
• A little more than a fourth of the plate contains grains, preferably whole grains.
• The remainder of the plate is filled with protein.
• A serving of low-fat or fat-free dairy is also served with the meal.
Choose the Right Fats
The body needs some fat to be healthy, so rather than avoiding all fats, try replacing unhealthy saturated and trans fats with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as well as omega 3 fatty acids. Some sources of healthy fats are trout, salmon, avocados, olive oil, and nuts.
Watch Portion Sizes
It’s not uncommon for Americans to eat more than they should. Part of heart healthy eating is portion control. Learn what the portion size is for various foods and stick to them. It can help to choose a smaller plate or bowl to eat from. Also, look at the serving size on packages and use that to determine how much to serve.
Eat Fewer Unhealthy Foods
It’s okay for seniors with heart disease to eat the occasional treat. After all, what’s a birthday without a slice of cake? Just balance out the excess calories in desserts and fatty foods with lower calorie healthy foods. Foods that should be limited include added sugars, sodium, saturated fat, and trans-fat.
If your older family member is struggling to make heart healthy changes to their diet, home care can help. A home care provider can assist them with planning meals they will enjoy and that use more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If the senior has trouble cooking their own meals, a home care provider can cook for them or just help them to cook, which can be more fun than cooking alone.
If you or a loved-one are considering hiring Home Care in Berwyn, PA talk to Unlimited Staffing Solutions. Specializing in Home and Community Based Support Waiver Services Since 2001. Please Call Us for Your Home Care Needs (215) 447-7133.