5 Foods Aging Adults with Heart Disease Should Cut from Their Diet

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 600,000 people die every year from some form of heart disease. Cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death for men and women. Seniors diagnosed with heart disease can prevent progression of the disease processes by eliminating certain foods from their diet.

1. High-Fat Foods

Red meat and high-fat dairy products contain high levels of saturated fat, which increases LDL cholesterol levels and the risk of developing fatty plaques. Seniors living with heart disease should eat more poultry and fish, which are leaner. Substitute olive oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, for butter, shortening, or margarine. Saturated fat intake should make up no more than 10 percent of an older adult’s daily calories.

2. Processed Foods

Salted snacks and food that comes in boxes or cans are considered processed foods. The long list of foods falling into this category includes canned soups and vegetables, macaroni and cheese, chips, pretzels, and nuts. Frozen meals and ramen noodles are also suspect. Processed foods traditionally contain high levels of salt, which leads to edema and hypertension. For example, canned soup may contain up to 1,300 milligrams of sodium, and canned or frozen meals provide up to 2,570 milligrams of sodium. Normally, seniors shouldn’t consume more than 2,000 milligrams of salt per day, and those with heart disease are often on salt-restricted diets that limit the daily amount even further. 

It’s tempting for family caregivers to serve quick, ready-made foods like these when they’re pressed for time. Cooking healthy meals every day can be a challenge when you’re juggling your own responsibilities as well as managing the details of your loved one’s daily life. If you start to feel overwhelmed, help is a phone call away. Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Montgomery families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home.

3. Processed Meats

Bacon, deli meats, hot dogs, and salami are all processed meats that are high in fat and salt, thus increasing LDL cholesterol levels. Many older adults are also sensitive to salt, which causes excess fluid retention and subsequent high blood pressure. Too much bodily fluid and hypertension put added stress on the cardiovascular system. Processed meats may also harbor harmful bacteria, which poses a risk for seniors due to their less efficient immune systems. Infections and inflammation from foodborne microbes also endanger the heart. 

Making sure seniors eat healthy foods can be a challenge for family members. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care. Montgomery Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

4. Refined Carbohydrates

Popular breakfast cereals, white bread, white rice, and baked goods are considered refined carbohydrates. The processing involved in making these foods often robs them of vital nutrients. These foods tend to cause dramatic spikes in blood sugar levels, which leads to inflammation, and they’re also known to contain high levels of salt, sugar, and trans fats. Refined carbohydrates tend to lead to unnecessary weight gain, which isn’t recommended for seniors with heart disease.

5. Sweet Beverages

Sweet sodas and juices add unnecessary calories while not providing a sufficient amount of nutrients (or they lack nutrients altogether). A single can of soda or a bottle of fruit juice may contain up to 10 tablespoons of sugar. Sugary foods take up space in the stomach that is better utilized for healthier foods. Sugar also causes an increase in inflammation, which has the potential for leading to an immune response that includes clot formation.

Nutrition is a crucial component of managing heart disease, and seniors with cardiovascular disease should start replacing harmful foods with a diet full of nutrients and vitamins right away. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust Montgomery senior home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at (334) 593-3988 to learn about our high-quality in-home services. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (334) 593-3988 today.

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