Keep Your Heart Healthy as You Age

The statements contained in this document are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of CMS. The authors assume responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this document.

Perhaps not surprisingly, a healthy heart is a key factor in maintaining overall good health. As we age, taking care of our hearts becomes increasingly important. But what are the most important things we can do to keep our hearts healthy? These easy-to-follow nutrition and activity tips are tailored for people aged 65 and older and can go a long way toward helping you maintain good heart health now and in the future.

Tip #1: Eat the rainbow!

Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is a simple, yet powerful, way to promote heart health. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help protect your heart. Aim to fill your plate with a rainbow of colors, including greens, reds, oranges and blues.

We recommend incorporating leafy greens like spinach and kale into your meals. These veggies are packed with nutrients that support heart health and can easily be added to salads or smoothies.

Having trouble affording healthy foods? Your ilumed advocate can connect you to food-delivery services like the Pearl Mae Foundation, Mom’s Meals or U.S. Hunger. These programs deliver nutritious foods to Medicare beneficiaries in need.

Tip #2: Choose heart-healthy fats

Not all fats are created equal. Opt for heart-friendly fats found in foods like avocados, nuts and olive oil. These fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood, lowering the risk of heart disease.

We suggest using olive oil for cooking instead of saturated fats like butter. It’s a small change that can make a big difference in your heart health.

Tip #3: Watch your sodium intake

Excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Be mindful of salt in your diet by reading food labels and choosing low-sodium options when they’re available.

Try reducing the amount of processed and restaurant foods you eat. These foods are often high in sodium. Cooking at home allows you to have more control over your sodium intake, and it can be delicious and fun to prepare your own heart-healthy recipes!

If cooking isn’t an option for you, ask your ilumed advocate about one of our food-delivery partners, Mom’s Meals. This service delivers high-quality meals tailored to your specific dietary needs, including low-sodium meals, right to your door, taking the food-preparation work off your plate.

Tip #4: Enjoy heart-healthy proteins

When it comes to protein, choose lean options like skinless poultry, fish, beans and legumes. These protein sources are lower in saturated fats and can help maintain a healthy heart.

Be on the lookout for proteins that provide additional benefits to your heart health. For example, fatty fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and can be included in your diet through grilled- or baked-fish dishes.

Tip #5: Make fiber your friend

Fiber is an excellent addition to a heart-healthy diet. It helps lower cholesterol levels and keeps your digestive system functioning well. Whole grains, like oatmeal, brown rice and whole-wheat bread, are excellent sources of dietary fiber.

We recommend swapping refined grains for whole grains whenever possible. This simple change can provide lasting benefits for your heart.

Tip #6: Stay active

Physical activity is a key component of heart health for seniors. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, such as brisk walking, swimming or dancing. Regular physical activity can help improve your cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight.

Finding an activity you enjoy and look forward to makes it more likely that you’ll stick with it. Whether it’s a daily walk in the park or a dance class with friends, staying active can be both fun and heart-healthy. Talk to your ilumed advocate for tips on finding the right activity for you so you can get moving in your favorite way!

Tip #6: Manage stress

Stress can take a toll on your heart, so it’s important to find ways to manage it effectively. Activities like meditation, deep-breathing exercises and hobbies you love can help reduce stress levels.

Try using mindfulness techniques each day to relax your mind and body. Reducing stress not only benefits your heart but also contributes to overall well-being. Your ilumed social worker is also a great resource to help you reduce your stress levels and support your mental health.

Tip #7: Get regular checkups

Regular checkups with your healthcare provider are crucial for monitoring your heart health. They can help detect any issues early and provide guidance on managing risk factors like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Ilumed’s case managers can help you keep track of medications, make important lifestyle changes and monitor your blood pressure and other vital metrics between doctor’s appointments.

While most Medicare beneficiaries only see their doctors once a year, ilumed patients have quarterly visits with their healthcare providers, which means that you have a greater chance of catching and managing potential issues proactively.

A healthy heart is a happy heart

Maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle is vital for everybody, but it’s especially important for people aged 65 and older. By incorporating these heart-healthy nutrition and activity tips into your daily routine, you can take significant steps toward safeguarding your heart health.

Remember, it’s never too late to make positive changes for your heart. With the right nutrition choices, regular physical activity and stress-management techniques, you can enjoy a heart-healthy and fulfilling life well into your golden years.

ilumed’s care team is here to help you stay on track between doctor’s visits and support you on your journey to better heart health. Visit for more health and wellness tips.

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