Courtesy of the American Heart Association
Heart-Health is crucial to consider � especially for older adults � as preventing Heart Attacks and Strokes can lead to a life with decreased risk for falls. Preventing these heart-related medical events from happening can also minimize your level of risk for severe injuries, such as, hip fractures or even traumatic brain injuries � as 10% of senior falls result in major injuries.�
Improving your Heart-Health and avoiding Falls can be accomplished by simply increasing muscle mass and cardiovascular health with regular, low-impact exercise � resulting in enhanced mobility and balance that helps keep you on your feet.� Routine exercise can become even more impactful by pairing it with Heart-Healthy, high-protein meals � decreasing the amount of sodium, animal products, and trans fats you eat while increasing your vegetable consumption. By focusing on the future and adopting ways to better our Heart-Health through simple lifestyle changes � older adults can make monumental strides towards healthier futures.
One of the easiest ways we can improve our Heart-Health is by incorporating more plant-based dishes into our diets � which has proven to significantly reduce the likelihood of developing Heart Disease and can lower our overall risk for experiencing a fall due to a decreased vulnerability to stressors. And unlike a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, mixing in some meatless meals won�t require you to give up your carnivorous ways.
What�s the deal with meatless meals?
�Most of the cholesterol-raising saturated fats that Americans eat come from meat and full-fat dairy products such as whole milk cheese,� said Alice Lichtenstein, D.Sc., a professor of nutrition at Tufts University and an AHA volunteer.� �If you decrease your daily intake of animal fat, you�re going to decrease your intake of saturated fat.�
What�s in a meatless meal?
"Going meatless is as simple as moving vegetables and fruits from a side dish to a starring role. You should also seek out high-fiber whole grains, beans and legumes, unsalted nuts, and lower fat and fat-free dairy foods. These tend to be high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and other important phytonutrients,� said Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition professor at the University of Vermont and AHA volunteer.
Start with small steps.
"An easy way to get started is to eat one meatless meal a week,� suggests Dr. Johnson. Sticking with it can quickly make you start feeling lighter and your wallet fatter: People who eat less meat tend to consume fewer calories, and foods such as beans are one of the most cost-effective sources of protein available.�
Gotta have meat? Limit it to once in a while.
When you do eat meat, choose the leanest cut available, reduce your portion size to no more than 6 oz cooked, remove all visible fat, and cook in a healthy way to avoid excess saturated fats. And remember, a meatless meal doesn�t automatically translate to less saturated fat. "You can drop meat, but if you substitute quiche for steak, you�re not going to get any advantage in terms of heart health,� Dr. Lichtenstein cautioned. Make sure you�re making healthy swaps.
Get started on your journey towards improved Heart-Health today with our FREE Plant-Based Recipe Cards � featuring delicious dishes that are easy to make ahead for a week�s worth of protein-packed meals! Click HERE to download them!�
In the event that you have experienced a Heart Attack or Stroke, looking into a Medical Alert System, like one from Medical Guardian, could become a small investment that saves you $30,000 in Fall-related medical expenses � equipping you with the emergency assistance you need while also decreasing your risk for complications stemming from delayed treatment.