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Staying heart healthy as we age

By Elean Gersack

February is heart month, so it is the perfect time to rethink recipes and activities to be sure yours is getting lots of love.  It becomes even more important as we age.  

Diets should be infused with plenty of heart healthy ingredients.  According to the American Heart Association (AHA), there are plenty of good fuel choices that will not tax your budget.  For less than $1 per serving, consider snacking on apples, bananas, baby carrots, oranges, pears or yogurt.  Some other wonderful foods to incorporate across menus include: broccoli, sweet potatoes, lentils, kidney, pinto, garbanzo or navy beans, tomatoes, spinach, oatmeal and brown rice.  Frozen corn and mixed vegetables are excellent substitutes when fresh is not available or when you are pressed for time.

The AHA suggests seven key focus areas to lessen the risk of heart disease:  manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, reduce blood sugar, get active, eat better, lose weight and stop smoking.  

Getting and staying active is sometimes challenging, but important.  Recent findings shared on the January 10 episode of CBS Morning News showed that exercise alone could have medicinal benefits for many.  Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine specialist at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery spoke during that broadcast and although he encourages exercise every day, he said that even a few times a week is better than nothing at all.  “It has no side effects, it’s free and it works for everybody,” he shared.  

Brisk walking is a super easy and free way to get cardiovascular activity.  If the weather outside is too cold or wet, simply head to the mall and make some laps indoors while window-shopping.  Stretching, balance and weight bearing exercises are especially important as we age, too.  

Talk with your physician to determine what regimen is right for you, your heart and your overall health.  Learn more about being heart healthy at



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