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It’s American Heart Month: 5 Ways Your Senior Loved One Can Boost Heart Health

According to CardioSmart, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. This makes it especially important for seniors to take measures to keep their hearts in good shape. In honor of American Heart Month, Redondo Beach elder care experts suggest these tips to help your senior loved one maintain a healthy heart.

1. Replace Refined Grains with Whole Grains

Refined grains, such as wheat flour, white rice, and enriched bread, are milled, which results in the bran and germ being removed from the whole grain. Bran and germ contain dietary fiber and vitamins that are necessary for good heart health. Whole grains include:

  • Whole wheat
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Whole oats or oatmeal
  • Whole-grain barley, corn, or bulgur

According to the American Heart, whole grains help lower LDL cholesterol levels, keep weight under control, and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease when eaten as part of a healthy diet.

2. Strength Train

Doctors used to believe seniors with heart disease shouldn’t strength train. However, increasing evidence suggests strength training actually boosts cardiovascular health. Lifting weights or doing weight-bearing exercises can help strengthen your loved one’s heart and speed up his or her metabolism. A great way for your loved one to begin is by holding on to the back of a chair and doing simple knee bends and leg raises or stepping up and down on a small stool. If he or she needs assistance with these or other exercises, consider hiring a caregiver in Redondo Beach to help.

3. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure levels, reduce blood clotting, and lower the risk of stroke. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, lake trout, sardines, and tuna. Seniors who don’t like fish can eat grass-fed beef, flaxseed, enriched eggs, or omega-3 supplements.

4. Exercise the Heart

The heart must continually work, and strengthening it through cardiovascular exercises helps it work more efficiently. When the heart is able to pump efficiently, blood pressure and heart rate decrease. If your loved one has never exercised regularly before, encourage him or her to start slow by going on a daily 15-minute walk. Gradually increase the time to ensure his or her muscles are ready for other exercises. When your loved one is ready, he or she may want to try a senior aerobics class, swimming, playing tennis, or bowling.

5. Quit Smoking

The chemicals in tobacco can cause the arteries and blood vessels to harden and narrow, making it more difficult for blood to flow through. Smoking also allows plaque to build up in the arteries, which increases the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes. Encourage your loved one to quit smoking to keep his or her blood vessels clear and increase his or her heart health.

Eating healthy and exercising regularly are important factors in reducing a senior’s risk of heart disease, but these can be more difficult to manage with age. Help your loved one get the support he or she needs by reaching out to Redondo Beach Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can assist with exercise, nutritious meal preparation, and many other daily tasks. We also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s care Redondo Beach families trust. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our qualified Care Managers at (310) 504-0506 today.