Heart-Healthy Shopping: 4 Things For Seniors To Consider At The Grocery Store

Although one's health is important at any age, senior citizens can significantly benefit from a heart-healthy diet. When coupled with exercise, a healthy diet can help seniors keep their body and heart strong for as long as they can, which is important as they age. The best place to start is the grocery store. Whether you are a senior citizen who does your own shopping or you are someone with an aging loved one, here are four things to consider when shopping for food at the store:

1. Go Colorful with Fruits and Vegetables.

Adults should aim for intake of about five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, as they contain vitamins, minerals and fiber that the body needs to stay active and healthy. When shopping, make sure to opt for fruits and vegetables of every color, as the color is an indication of certain nutrients. For example, lutein is found in tomatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes. It is a carotenoid that is beneficial for your eyes as well as your heart.

2. Avoid High-Fat Meat and Dairy Products.

Opt for lean meat with very little to visible fat. As a general rule, you should look for "loin" cuts, such as tenderloin and sirloin, as these are some of the leanest cuts. You should also choose low-fat ground meat – beef, pork, turkey and chicken – as well as cheese, milk, yogurt and other dairy products. The only kind of fatty meat that is recommended is fish, such as trout or salmon, as oily fish products like these can not only increase the intake of omega-3s, but they can also reduce your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish each week for the best results.

3. Leave Butter on the Shelf and Opt for Spread.

Keeping cholesterol levels low is key to proper dietary and heart health. You should try to avoid foods that are high in cholesterol, such as hydrogenated vegetable oil and butter. To help lower your cholesterol intake, consider replacing your typical butter with a spread that contains plant sterols and healthy fats. Both of these can help lower bad cholesterol levels.

4. Consider Canned or Frozen Fruits and Vegetables.

Most senior citizens are on a fixed or low income, which means they may not be able to afford some fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead, canned or frozen options can be purchased. The only thing to keep an eye out for is ensuring that you choose unsweetened and unsalted varieties.

Changing your diet so that you can eat for your heart can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are incorporating brand new foods. However, as long as you start with small increments of the new foods, it will soon become second nature. You can also speak to your doctor  or a specialist at Valley Medical Care about the best dietary changes for your health.