Senior Resources » 9 Heart-Healthy Foods to Add to Your Plate

9 Heart-Healthy Foods to Add to Your Plate

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Whether your doctor has issued a stern warning or you want to eat healthier for personal reasons, you’re in the right place! Eating a heart-healthy diet can reduce or eliminate risk factors for heart disease. From lower blood pressure to better cholesterol, the effects of a healthy diet can’t be overstated! But what foods should be part of a heart-healthy diet? How can they improve your cardiac health? Keep reading to find out!


1. Eggs

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Once upon a time, eggs were demonized in the health community. People who were following low-fat diets avoided eggs like the plague, considering them too cholesterol-packed to be part of a healthy breakfast. However, eggs don’t deserve their bad reputation! Fortunately for egg lovers everywhere, new studies suggest that consuming foods with cholesterol, like eggs, has little correlation to high cholesterol in the blood or a risk of heart disease. Furthermore, the American Heart Association has chimed in, saying that people can eat one to two eggs per day with no negative health effects. In fact, they’re excellent sources of protein!

2. Oatmeal

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Oatmeal is delicious, nutritious, and versatile. It should come as a shock to no one that oats can be part of a heart-healthy diet! It’s rich in soluble fiber, including beta-glucan, which lowers blood glucose and cholesterol levels and promotes healthy gut bacteria. However, what kind of oats you eat matters. For example, flavored oatmeal tends to be higher in sugar and has less fiber than other kinds. Steel-cut oats take a little longer to cook but contain more fiber than other kinds. Meanwhile, rolled oats are easier to cook but have slightly less fiber than steel-cut. Consider adding fruit, like bananas or berries, or a handful of nuts to your oatmeal for even more nutrients. However, oatmeal in and of itself is incredibly nutritious, packed with vitamins, minerals, and enough fiber and protein to keep you satiated throughout your morning!


3. Avocados

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Never underestimate the power of a good avocado! Though small, this superfood is stuffed with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Additionally, they contain antioxidants that may help fight aging and certain diseases. A superfood, indeed! According to, just one avocado provides 40% of the Daily Value (DV) of folate, 30% of the DV for vitamin K, and over 20% of the daily value of vitamin C. Additionally, this green superfood can raise good cholesterol and help reduce blood pressure. In other words, they’re heart-healthy food! While you can also add avocado to whole-wheat toast or throw it into a good salad, you can also blend them up into a nice fruit smoothie! Of course, eating them alone is a good option, too.

4. Spinach

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I’m Popeye the sailor man. I’m Popeye the sailor man. I’m strong to the fin-ich. ‘Cause I eats me spin-ach. I’m Popeye the sailor man. Most of us remember this song from the iconic Popeye cartoons. While spinach can’t grant superhuman strength, it’s still a superfood! Not only can this leafy green vegetable boost your immunity and promote more glowy skin, but it’s also fantastic for your ticker! Not to mention that it’s also stuffed with essential vitamins and minerals! If you can’t stomach the taste of spinach on its own, you can add it to a salad or toss a handful or two into a fruit smoothie. Baked spinach is also a tasty choice!

5. Olive Oil

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Speaking of Popeye, let’s discuss olive oil! No, not the cartoon sailor’s fickle girlfriend but the oil that contains healthy fats that are the key for cardiovascular health. A lot of people might not think “healthy” when they think “oil”, but olive oil can protect your heart against heart disease by lowering inflammation and preventing excessive blood clotting. More importantly for seniors, it may help to fight against Alzheimer’s disease! However, it’s important to get the right kind of olive oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is considered the healthiest variant but only if it’s high-quality. Make sure you examine the labels closely and know what you’re buying before you add it to your shopping cart.

6. Berries

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If berries are your favorite fruit, then I’ve got great news for you. Berries, including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries, contain a plethora of nutrients and antioxidants that improve your heart health. One such antioxidant, known as anthocyanin, protects against oxidative stress, which can contribute to the development of heart disease. Other health benefits include better digestion, healthier skin, and lower cholesterol. While you can enjoy berries on their own, they’re also a great addition to other meals—oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, salads, the list goes on and on!


7. Dark Chocolate

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Yep, you read that right—dark chocolate can benefit your heart. Rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, dark chocolate may improve blood flow to the heart and brain and decrease the risk of blood clots. However, not all chocolates are created equally. To truly reap the benefits of this chocolatey treat, choose a variety with a higher cocoa content. (70% or higher). Additionally, dark chocolate must be consumed in moderation (less than six servings per week). As long as you follow those guidelines, your heart may benefit tremendously!

8. Tomatoes

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Tomatoes are technically a fruit, though most people consider them a vegetable. Regardless of how you categorize them, they’re packed with beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamin C, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. And that’s not all these red fruits (vegetables?) can do for your health. They can also lower your cancer risk, support brain health, and promote exercise recovery (according to Plus, they’re incredibly versatile! You can eat them on their own, add them to a nice salad, or even oven-roast them! Now, that leaves only one question. If tomatoes are technically a fruit, does that mean that ketchup is technically a smoothie? We’ll let you decide.

9. Almonds

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Almonds are not only yummy, but they’re also an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber, both of which can protect against heart disease. Additionally, consuming almonds regularly can help raise the good cholesterol (HDL) and lower the bad! Like all nuts, almonds are high in fat and calories, so you should consume them in moderation. However, as long as you keep track of your almond consumption, they can be a great part of a heart-healthy diet. And remember—almonds can be added to other heart-healthy foods, like spinach salads and oatmeal.

Other Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

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While a heart-healthy diet can keep your ticker running as it should, it’s not the only way to boost your cardiac health! Here are a few other ways to keep your heart nice and healthy.

  1. Get active!
  2. Manage your stress.
  3. Get enough sleep.
  4. Quit smoking.
  5. Avoid alcohol or drink in moderation.
  6. Maintain a healthy weight.
  7. Stay hydrated.
  8. Maintain social connections and friendships.
  9. Get regular health check-ups and take preventative care seriously.
  10. Limit processed foods.

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Originally published April 19, 2024


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