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.