Top Heart Healthy Recipes and Foods for Seniors

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for 1 in 4 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It kills more people than all forms of cancer combined. Seniors ages 65 and up are more likely than younger people to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or coronary heart disease, the CDC says. An estimated 43.7 million Americans over 60 have one or more types of heart disease.

As concerning as the numbers are, there are ways to reduce your risk for heart disease through lifestyle, exercise and even diet.

Here are some heart-healthy recipes and foods, along with a few other heart health tips for seniors.

12 Heart-Healthy Foods for Seniors

1. Almonds and Walnuts 

Both almonds and walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to important functions in the body. They also contain calcium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E and heart-favorable monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. 

2. Beans

Kidney and black beans contain calcium, B-complex vitamins, fiber, folate, magnesium, niacin and omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Berries

Berries are high in antioxidants and fiber, along with calcium, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins. Try blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries to find your favorite. 

4. Broccoli 

Broccoli packs a punch with beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, folate and vitamins C and E. Broccoli can be cooked into dishes or just eaten raw or with healthy dips.

5. Carrots 

Carrots are loaded with carotenes, primarily beta-carotene. Studies have associated higher levels of beta carotene with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.


6. Dark Chocolate

Chocolate contains healthy amounts of resveratrol and cocoa phenols, which can lower blood pressure. Dark chocolates are healthier for you, with higher cocoa content and lower fat than milk chocolate.

7. Fish

Fish like salmon and tuna are full of omega-3s, which can decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeats, help lower triglycerides and slow the rate of artery hardening. 

8. Green tea

Antioxidants in green tea can help your arteries stay flexible longer, staving off plaque buildup, according to studies. There is evidence that blood vessel function can improve very quickly after consuming a cup of green tea. 

9. Red Bell Peppers 

Like carrots, red bell peppers are full of carotenes, along with fiber, folate, potassium and B-complex vitamins. They can also make a quick snack, along with carrots and broccoli.

10. Spinach

Spinach is great for the heart, with beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, folate, and vitamins C and E. Folate is important for building and maintaining healthy red blood cells.

11. Substitute Milks

Almond and soy milks are good choices if you’re lactose intolerant, or just to cut out some fats. Almond milk is rich in magnesium, potassium, and vitamin E. Soy milk contains B-complex vitamins, calcium, folate, magnesium and potassium.

12. Whole grains 

Brown rice provides B-complex vitamins, fiber and magnesium. Oats and oatmeal are a go-to for protein and fiber, which can also help you manage cholesterol. 

These heart-healthy foods can be combined any number of ways for tasty meals.

10 Heart-Healthy Diet Recipes for Seniors

Here are some quick recipes that can help seniors eat better.

1. 5 A Day Salad

This nutrient-rich salad has 10 vegetables, including heart-friendly spinach, broccoli and carrots. Each serving is equivalent to five cups of vegetables.

Recipe at MyPlate

2. American Goulash

This is a pasta and beef dish from the Old Country. It cooks in one pot, making it economical as well as healthy.

Recipe at Eating Well

3. Banana Split Oatmeal

Frozen yogurt and bananas combine for a healthy breakfast, dessert or snack later in the day.

Recipe at MyPlate

4. Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

This quesadilla gets its flavor from heart-friendly black beans and sweet potatoes instead of loads of cheese. Use wheat tortillas for extra nutrition.

Recipe at MyPlate

5. Butternut Squash Soup

This is a smooth and tasty comfort soup. Butternut squash is often sold peeled and cubed in grocery stores, making preparation easier.

Recipe at American Heart Association

6. Farmers Market Omelets

This becomes a healthier alternative with the addition of seasonal vegetables. Add cheese or garden-fresh salsa for a tasty breakfast or light lunch.

Recipe at American Heart Association

7. Fusilli with Broccoli Pesto

Broccoli is used in this pasta sauce instead of the usual pesto herbs. Paired with fusilli pasta and sprinkled with almonds, it’s a flavorful, healthy option.

Recipe at Delish 

8. Green Veggie Bowl With Chicken

This 30-minute dinner features rice, green beans, kale, brown rice and tahini. Give it a zing with a squeeze of lemon before eating.

Recipe at Eating Well

9. Indian Beef Flank Steak and Rice

This marinated beef flank is grilled and served with rice, vegetables and a seasoned yogurt sauce. 

Recipe at American Heart Association 

10. Mediterranean Grilled Salmon

This dish uses heart-healthy salmon, and doesn’t take too long to make. Pair with Mediterranean-style greens or couscous.

Recipe at Mayo Clinic

For other heart-healthy recipe ideas, visit these websites:

Other Heart-Healthy Tips for Seniors 

Besides changing your diet, there are many other things you can do to keep your heart healthy. Check out these tips from the National Institute on Aging.

Be More Physically Active

Before you start some physical activity, talk it over with your doctor. If possible, aim to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Every day is best. It doesn’t have to be done all at once.

Curb Stress

Learn how to relax and cope with problems to improve physical and emotional health. Consider a stress management program, meditation, physical activity, and talking things out with friends or family. 

Keep a Healthy Weight

By being phsically active, you can balance your intake of calories with the amount you burn off. This helps maintain a healthy weight. 

Limit Alcohol

Men should not have more than two drinks a day and women only one. According to the NIA, oOne drink is equal to: 

  • One 12-ounce bottle or can of ale, regular beer or wine cooler 
  • One 8- or 9-ounce bottle or can of malt liquor 
  • One 5-ounce glass of red or white wine 
  • One 1.5-ounce shot glass of distilled spirits

Manage Your Medical Conditions

Watch your diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol. Follow your doctor’s advice to manage these conditions, and take medications as directed.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Smoking adds to the damage to artery walls. Quitting, even in later life, can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

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