High blood pressure is a serious medical condition that’s said to impact almost 60% of seniors on Medicare. While medication is often the approach to lowering blood pressure, health professionals stress that dietary changes are a must.
Sodium is the biggest contributor to high blood pressure. We get most of our sodium intake from table salt. Nutrition experts say we need only about 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams daily—or about a quarter of a teaspoon. Yet, the average American consumes five or more teaspoons daily. Seniors—as their caretakers—can eat healthier and reduce sodium by reducing the amount of these types of foods.
Fast Food Burgers
Sure, those hamburgers taste great, but it’s usually because they are loaded with sodium—which helps to amplify flavor. While it’s true that there may be a correlation between heart disease and saturated fats from red meat, it’s the high salt content that makes the average fast-food burger a contributor to high blood pressure. Make them a treat instead of a regular occurrence.
People of any age love to dive in to deep-fried chicken. It’s the texture as much as the taste. Conventional frying is a cooking method that creates trans fats. These types of fats elevate our bad cholesterol level and suppress the good cholesterol level. You can cut down on consumption of trans fats by switching to olive or coconut oil when cooking at home.
Take a deep breath and relax if you’re thinking you’re about to read that it’s time to remove the sugar bowl from the table and go without it on your breakfast cereal. That’s actually not the biggest source of sugar in our diet. Look to that can of soda you had at lunch.
And, don’t be so fast with the self-congratulations if you passed on the soda in favor of fruit juice. If you read the label, you may find that your juice was sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Sweet snacks make us feel better, but they’re loaded with unhealthy highly processed ingredients. Besides sugar, the average mass-produced cookie from the grocery store contains both saturated fats like palm oil, and a trans fat called partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
We love bacon because it tastes salty. As do most cured luncheon meats. The American Heart Association tells us that six thin slices of deli meat loads you up with half of the amount of sodium you should consume in a whole day.
Unfortunately, that salty flavor is why we love pizza so much, too. The American Heart Association ranks pizza in second place on its list of the saltiest foods.
The Best Solution
Does this mean that seniors have to give up eating all the most popular foods?
It’s okay if you absolutely refuse to give up pizza or bacon, or even a glass of soda to wash it down. The secret to making friends with all of these not-heart-healthy foods is to enjoy them in moderation. Make them a special treat, rather than an everyday occurrence.
Your heart—and your doctor—will thank you.