Making Heart Health Choices

February 8th, 2019 | Senior Health

When it comes to health, there’s a lot of misleading or outdated information. You really don’t need a miracle diet; some magic beans, or snake oil to make an impact on your overall well-being. Many people think that taking medication will fix the problem - but it doesn’t. Heart disease is an issue that causes death in 1 of 4 men and women in the United States. The good news is that heart disease is preventable through healthy diet choices and making healthy lifestyle choices (like exercising).

Often even if you’ve had years of unhealthy eating under your belt, making some lifestyle changes, getting exercise, reducing stress and fatigue, drinking tons of water and making healthy eating choices make the biggest difference. The best part? These are all things you can do yourself, no prescription required!


Making Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes, making lifestyle changes can be tough because some habits have been built up for long periods of time. Some lifestyle changes that can have an immediate effect on your heart health include:

-Stop smoking now stops the growth of plaque buildup and hardening arteries

-Cut back on drinking alcoholic beverages

-Maintain a healthy weight by eating right and exercising

-Exercise or doing a hobby outdoors instead of watching TV (research from Harvard School of Public Health suggests that watching more than two hours of TV per day causes an increased risk of heart disease)


Getting Exercise

Getting moving is the trademark of a healthy lifestyle! It doesn’t have to be super strenuous - like running a mile; just get some exercise! Some good exercises for seniors include:

-A brisk walk through the park


-Walking the dog or taking the dog to the park

-Balance exercises for seniors like walking heel to toe or marching in place

-Wall push-ups and other strength exercises for seniors


Reducing Stress and Fatigue

Have you ever gotten worked up and then had a fast pulse or felt on edge? That’s because stress directly raises your risk for heart disease. An AHA (American Heart Association) study found that doing a few meditation activities can actually reduce your risk of heart attacks significantly (compared to people that don’t meditate to moderate stress). Here’s an example of meditation exercises that you can do in 5 minutes:

            -Focus on an interesting painting or nature scene

            -Take several deep breaths

            -Focus on the moment rather than focusing on negativity

            -Distract yourself with a calming task

            -Listen to music


Drink Tons of Water

Did you know that your body is 60% water? It’s constantly depleting this amount too - so doctors suggest drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day. That’s because it has a ton of positive benefits. Water:

-Improves heart and brain function, while improving memory

-Prevents issues like constipation, kidney stones, and headaches; reducing stress

            -Makes it easier to lose weight and improves metabolism

-Reduces the risk of heart attack and improves sleep quality if you drink a glass of water before bed (but don’t drink too much!)


Making Healthy Eating Choices - the TRUE Heart Healthy Diet

You’ve probably heard that “you are what you eat,” and in a lot of ways it’s very true. If you eat unhealthily, you often feel lethargic, tired, and slow (think about how you feel after a big meal). That’s because the body is struggling to digest and break down unhealthy foods. And when we crave unhealthy foods, it’s often best to find other, healthier alternatives. That’s why at Legend Senior Living we always stress:
            -Low sugar diets over low calorie diets

-Managing your sugar or eliminating your sugar intake entirely

-Cutting down on carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, and starchy foods to lower blood sugar levels

-Eating one fruit product a day to beat sugar craving causes naturally

-Eating plenty of proteins, cheeses and milk

-Getting dietary fiber through leafy greens and other healthy vegetables (sweet potatoes, asparagus and other low GI (glycemic index) foods like peppers and green veggies. You can always reference glycemic reference food charts to better follow low glycemic index diets as well


Everyone Needs Some Help Sometimes - Plus it’s Heart Health Month!


Legend Senior Living® focuses on heart health this time of year; especially after holidays full of junk food and sugar. We help teach our clients how to better prepare lunches and breakfasts. We schedule professional dietitians and cardiologists to better explain how exercise, dieting, and reducing stress improve your heart health. Learn more about preventing heart disease for your loved ones today - give us a call to schedule a visit!