At 40, you were ‘over the hill.’ But once you hit 50, you need to be vigilant about your health if you want to get to centenarian status. It’s all about healthy lifestyle and the biggest part of it is what you eat. As heart disease is a silent and deadly assassin, one that is a greater risk once you pass the 50-benchmark, it’s important to listen to your heart in matters of foods that will do it good. If you’re not eating these 6 heart healthy foods from 50 and onward, you need to start doing it now!
The next time you treat yourself to Japanese food, order an appetizer of edamame. This soybean is full of a type of flavonoid that can reduce cholesterol and boost heart health. Studies found that they can lower bad cholesterol by 3% on average. Even more fascinating, if you reduce your total cholesterol levels by only 10%, you lower your risk of dying from heart disease by 15%.
Edamame are highly snackable and enjoyable. Once you try them, you’ll be a fan and can even munch on them while you watch shows. Work on lowering your cholesterol even more than 10% in a very tasty way!
Love those leaves
Leafy green vegetables have a big reputation for being healthy. But they’re especially important for a healthy heart. Collard greens, kale, and spinach are particularly rich in vitamins and minerals, not to mention antioxidants. One of the most important vitamins you get from leafy greens is vitamin K. It keeps arteries protected and encourages proper blood clotting.
And with all those dietary nitrates, your blood pressure will be in good standing. After analyzing 8 different studies, researchers found the more leafy green veggies you eat, you can lower your heart disease risk by as much as 16%. Toss them in with your wheat pasta to add color and brilliance, add them to soups, put them in your salads, make a stir-fry, or put them in smoothies to disguise the taste.
Have more whole grains
Stop eating those processed grains and turn to whole grains for whole healthy heart. Pack brown rice, oats, barley, whole wheat breads, and quinoa into your shopping cart instead. Whole grains have wonderful health benefits that start with a whole lot more fiber. More fiber is good for feeling fuller as well as reducing your levels of LDL cholesterol.
When researchers took a look at 45 different studies about whole grains, they found eating just 3 more servings of whole grains every day lowered heart disease risk by 22%. So, don’t skip carbs but do switch them to whole grains that will give your heart a whole lot to beat for.
Bring on the beans
Ever since researchers discover the importance of gut health as the second brain, beans became a powerful food to put into your daily diet. The reason? They contain a resistant starch which is fermented by your good gut bacteria. This helps your heart by reducing triglycerides in your blood as well as your cholesterol. Study reviews found that over 26 studies, a diet brimming with beans and legumes had a tremendous impact on reducing bad cholesterol levels.
Black beans and brown rice, anyone? It’s a healthy combination you can’t miss. Fun fact: dried beans are cheaper and don’t have all the sodium their canned counterparts have so get those instead. No time to soak beans overnight? Choose lentils since they only need to be rinsed before use and can be thrown into curries, stews, and soups on the spot to cook up quickly.
Go totally tomato
The reason tomatoes have that lovely red hue is thanks to lycopene. It’s a plant pigment that is ideal for deactivating free radicals. Free radicals can cause oxidative damage and inflammation which lead to heart disease. With studies pointing to low levels of lycopene in the blood as a risk factor for increase of heart attack and stroke, you might want to start eating more tomatoes immediately for your heart health.
Another study review found foods that were rich in lycopene helped lower these risks. Tomatoes surely have some of the richest stores of lycopene. You should cook them to get the best benefits so sauté them or make homemade sauce, but they’re also great for your health on your salads and sandwiches.
Crack some walnuts
With all the fiber, magnesium, manganese, and copper in walnuts, just having a few servings can guard your heart from heart disease when you’re 50 and over. It reduces bad cholesterol and decreases oxidative stress too. They make a great snack and add plenty of crunch on top of salads. You only need a little bit of them daily to help you turn your heart health around for the better so get crackin’!
Hold Onto Your Heart Health After 50
Turning 50 isn’t the same as it was years ago. At 50, plenty of people are living life to the fullest and it could be you too. Simply take care of your heart health and you’ll be on your way to better overall health and longevity.
Along with these heart-healthy foods, you can also eat more fatty fish, almonds, berries, avocados, dark chocolate, and olive oil. A well-rounded diet of nutritious foods is usually the answer to feeling your best at any age, even if you’re 50 or older!