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Magnolia Manor Blog

Be Sweet to Yourself, Februrary is National Heart Month

Posted by Magnolia Manor on
February 01, 2023

LR Mattie Marshall Valentines Day 2019_0008

Who doesn’t love to receive a valentine? From a friend, a secret admirer, or the long-time love of your life, valentines always bring moments of joy. But did you know you can be your own valentine? Yep, that’s why we celebrate American Heart Month in February. A healthy heart improves the quality and length of your life – and that means more valentine love to share and receive.

american heart month senior living georgiaFuel for the Heart

Good nutrition, regular exercise, and maintaining a stable, healthy weight are key to heart health.

If you reside in Assisted Living or another area within one of our Magnolia Manor communities (other than Independent Living), you don’t even have to worry about menu planning or cooking, thanks to our talented professional chefs. They know what’s good for you, and they know how to prepare and present meals so tasty and fragrant you just can’t wait to dive in.

If you’re an independent senior, it’s up to you to plan and create delicious, heart-friendly meals. But no matter who you are or where you live, it’s important to know what “heart-friendly” really means.

american heart month senior living georgiaWhat to Avoid

Some foods (or ingredients) taste good but aren’t good for you -- you know, things that are high in fat, calories, sugar, or salt. These ingredients increase risk of cardiovascular disease, and they also increase risk of developing diabetes or high blood pressure that can cause a stroke. So, loving your heart requires minimizing your intake of these ingredients.

That’s not as easy as it sounds, because some heart-unfriendly foods can sneak up on you:

  • Processed foods, including some common staples such as canned soups and vegetables, cereal, frozen and packaged snack foods typically contain lots of salt and even sugars you wouldn’t suspect. Carbohydrates turn into sugars as you digest, so some nutritionists believe bread and crackers are as potentially unhealthy and risky as cakes and cookies.
  • Protein. Yes, heart health experts say most Americans eat too much protein, usually at the expense of other more beneficial foods such as fruits, veggies, and fiber-rich whole grains. Worse, most meats are also high in fat.
  • Coconut oil. Too much fat here for healthy eating, but coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer for skin and hair.

If you aren’t sure, read the label to see how much sugar, fat, calories, and carbs are in that product before you buy or eat it.

american heart month senior living georgiaBe Positive, Valentine!

“There isn’t a food that will save your life … And there isn’t one that’s going to kill you. It is about balance.” That’s the word from Dr. Sharonne Hayes, professor of cardiovascular medicine and founder of the Women's Heart Clinic at the Mayo Clinic.

She’s right. Why focus on what you “can’t have” when there are so many delicious, tempting foods that are overtly good for your heart – and the rest of your body! A few simple changes can do so much to improve your health. For example:

  • Drink coffee or tea without milk or sugar (especially non-dairy creamer), or use healthier alternatives
  • Use spices instead of salt to create tasty dishes, and never add salt at the table.
  • Snack on fresh fruits or carrots.
  • Choose low-sodium canned and packaged foods, which are increasingly common.
  • Choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products.
  • Choose plant proteins more often than meat or cheese – lentils, beans, chickpeas, raw or dry-roasted almonds or peanuts.

When you make heart-friendly choices most of the time, you can allow yourself the occasional indulgence. A small serving of bacon or sausage. Some potato chips. A candy bar. An after-dinner dessert. american heart month senior living georgia

So, Go ahead and Savor that Valentine’s Chocolate!

Just don’t overdo it. Like many other popular treats, chocolate is high in calories and fat so too much can certainly raise your risk of heart disease. But, wait, there’s sweeter news! Studies also show that chocolate is high in beneficial antioxidants, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and memory loss. The darker the better. Dark chocolate can even brighten your mood.

Happy Valentine’s Day indeed.

Senior Wellness at Magnolia Manor

At Magnolia Manor, we focus on the overall well-being of seniors. Our residents thrive with the opportunities we provide for them to participate in physical, social, and spiritual activities. If you’d like to learn more about senior wellness at any of our nine campuses in south Georgia, contact us at 1-855-540-LIFE.

independent living in gerogia

Topics: Senior Resources, FAQs