Eating Habits For a Stronger Heart After 50, Say Dietitians
Having a strong heart in your 50s is crucial, especially because your heart undergoes major changes as you age. For example, the National Institute of Aging emphasizes the fact that your heart is a muscle, which means it can naturally grow weaker over time.
And although your heart doesn't undergo major changes until around your mid-60s, it's still important to focus on your heart health right now, especially if you're already in your 50s.
Thankfully, there are certain foods and eating habits that can help you build a strong heart at any time, with only some minor adjustments.
Continue reading to learn about the eating habits that can help you maintain a healthy heart, and for more healthy eating tips, check out Eating Habits to Lower Your Cholesterol.
Avoid diet sodas
When it comes to drinking soda, both regular and diet have their own dangers related to health. But according to Arika Hoscheit, RDN with Paloma Health, "diet sodas and other artificially sweetened beverages are counterproductive when it comes to heart health."
Some people may assume that going for diet soda can help them lose weight and save calories, but it's important to be aware that diet sodas can harm your heart health in serious ways.
"Artificially-sweetened drinks are associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases," says Hoscheit, "and one study even shows that daily consumption of diet soda may cause a 36% greater risk of metabolic syndrome and a 67% greater risk of type 2 diabetes when compared with non-diet-soda drinkers."
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Eating enough fruits and vegetables can help with many different health problems and can help lower your risk of a number of diseases. And when it comes to heart health specifically, this is an important habit to adopt.
"The compounds of vegetables and fruit that protect the plants from their natural enemies, in turn, protect us from some of ours such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and brain deterioration," says Judy Barbe, RD and author of Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest.
Anna Rios, RDN agrees, adding that "vegetables are filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and these powerful micronutrients work together to fight heart disease and keep your cholesterol levels low."
Eating fish and other sources of healthy fats can help you keep a strong, healthy heart, especially if it replaces some of the sources of unhealthy fats in your daily diet.
"The omega-3s that you get from eating salmon and other oily fish offer protection against heart attack, stroke, cancer, and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis," says Barbe, "and it does this by thinning the blood and preventing it from sticking to your artery walls, which helps lower the risk for blocked arteries and heart attacks."
Eat enough fiber
Incorporating enough fiber into your daily diet is crucial for better heart health and lowering cholesterol, which is especially important as you get older.
"Choose high-fiber foods such as whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits, and nuts," says Rios, "because soluble fiber binds to cholesterol particles in the small intestine, preventing it from entering your bloodstream, and lower cholesterol levels protect your heart health."
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