Five ways to Maintain a Healthy Heart

Maintaining a healthy heart is important. The higher your blood cholesterol, the higher your risk of heart disease. High cholesterol causes plaque (fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances in blood) and when it builds up in the artery walls eventually it may restrict blood flow to the heart’s chambers. If this happens, it leads to a heart attack, sudden cardiac death or stroke. The good news is that you can make simple lifestyle choices to help you avoid, or even slow down heart-related problems.

1. Exercise Regularly

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise. In addition to working out in a gym try something new like dancing, biking, walking, running, kayaking, playing frisbee, taking the stairs, yoga, lifting, LARPing, golfing or go for a walking meeting.

2. Replace Saturated Fats with Unsaturated Healthy Fats

Unsaturated fats can help lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Start adding in 8oz of non-fried fish per week, incorporate ~1oz of unsalted seeds and nuts, add avocado, choose oils that are lower in saturated fat (avocado, canola, corn, grapeseed, peanut, sunflower, etc.).

3. Watch Your Sodium Intake

Sodium is an essential nutrient and helps control blood pressure, it cannot be eliminated completely. Sea salt should be treated just the same as table salt. Even if you have healthy blood pressure, it is important to keep sodium intake less than 1,500mg.

4. Eat The Rainbow

Different colored fruits and veggies provide different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Take a walk through the produce section and choose items that are different from each other.

5. Limit Sugary Drinks

Limit the quantity of sugary drinks you’re consuming on a weekly basis. There is already so much sugar in the foods that we’re eating, don’t add to it with sugary beverage alternatives.

While some drinks may seem “healthy” be sure to look at their label. Minute Maid 100% Apple Juice has 65.9g of sugar. Medium natural apples contain 12 to 13 grams of natural fructose, so that means a liter of Minute Maid Apple Juice has the equivalent of 5 apples worth of fructose.

At Senior Living Communities, we provide our Members with quality services, amenities, and resources that they deserve in their retirement. One integral component of our lifestyle is dining services, where we have Registered Dietitians on staff to support the community. Mary Kate Schaible, RD and Megan Hicks, RD work to enhance the lives of our Members through healthy choices. If you would like to learn more about Mary Kate and Megan, check out our blog post here.