February is American Heart Month. The Little Nursing Home wants to raise awareness about heart disease with a few tips for seniors. Heart disease is the primary cause of death in the United States. Poor diet, smoking, diabetes, stress, and lack of medical visits are major contributors to cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, prevention is possible by applying a few healthy lifestyle changes.
- Change your diet
The American Heart Association recommends eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C, and potassium. Fruits and vegetables are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which helps maintain a healthy gut, prevent digestion problems, and control blood pressure. Try not to drink more than two cups of coffee per day. Better alternatives are green and black tea, because they have a lower amount of caffeine, while also containing disease-preventing antioxidants.
- Stay active
Studies have shown that maintaining regular physical activity can help prevent many diseases. It does not have to be challenging to get in a workout. For instance, you can walk a friend’s or neighbor’s dog twice a week, walk around the block as you talk on the phone to a loved one, or go swimming with your grandchildren. All you need is twenty to thirty minutes of moderate exercise per day to improve heart health and lower blood pressure. Not only that but it improves mood and mental health.
Stress is not good for the mind or body, and high levels of stress have been linked to cardiovascular disease. There are many healthy outlets to relieve stress, find a few that work for you and keep with it! For example, music, stretching, petting a dog or cat, talking with a friend, or going for a short walk. Doing hobbies and activities you enjoy can help relieve stress and improve your overall mood.
4. Get enough sleep
It is critical for seniors to get a full night’s sleep. The recommended amount is between seven and nine hours a night. Sleep is beneficial for brain functionality, emotional well-being, metabolism, immune functionality, and damaged cell and tissue repair. Sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality cause disruptions in your blood pressure and inflammation, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. To improve sleep quality, establish a bedtime routine, and avoid excess caffeine in the daytime. Taking a short nap during the day is also a good way to stay rested.
It is never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle. Taking small steps to prevent heart disease can go a long way in improving your overall health and wellness. Schedule regular doctor’s visits to watch for changes in your heart health.
If you are considering a nursing home or assisted living for a loved one in northern NJ, The Little Nursing Home of Montclair offers a cozy and calm atmosphere with the comforts of home. We are family-owned for over 60 years and run by experienced registered nurses. Call or email us for more info or to schedule a tour.