Heart health for women over 50

Sage Journals verifies that heart disease is still the number one killer of women. With that in mind, it makes sense to focus on heart-healthy living to prevent heart disease and the possibility of having a heart attack. Basic lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, habits and stress levels can make the difference between developing heart disease and living a long and healthy life. 

Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet 

Eating a Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Research indicates that a large percentage of people reaching the ripe old age of 100 are eating this type of diet. The Mediterranean diet recommends eating large portions of fruit and vegetables, small portions of fish or chicken, olive oil and one glass of red wine per day. 

Other dietary suggestions unrelated to one specific diet plan includes eating flaxseed and nuts as healthy plant fats. Daily B12 supplements are also recommended. Vitamin D and calcium rich foods and supplements are also considered to contribute to heart health. Your doctor can check your levels of vitamin D, and tell you if you need to take supplements. Most older women need to take a Vitamin D supplement since the body does not assimilate it well as you get older. 

Knowing what to eat is important, but knowing what not to eat can be equally crucial. Eliminating or drastically limiting red meat, butter, salt, sugar and dairy products is advisable. Saturated fats are also a "No No." 

Exercise More 

One of the best things you can do for your heart is to get moving. Exercise plays a key role in heart health. You don't have to run a marathon or become a "gym bunny." 

In general, everybody should do moderate exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace, on most days of the week. Mayo Clinic reports that The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of exercise at least five days out of the week. Both moderate and vigorous aerobic activity are recommended, divided into about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and 75 minutes of vigorous activity. 

Examine and Modify Your Habits and Lifestyle 

If you smoke, you need to quit. This is no secret. Smoking increases your risk of developing many health problems, including heart disease. While it can be hard to quit, there are many support groups and aids to quit smoking. Quitting should be a top priority if you care about your heart. 

Harvard Health Publishing recommends that women limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day. Excessive alcohol consumption weakens the heart. 

Being overweight or obese will definitely compromise your heart health. Mayo Clinic reports that a body mass index(BMI) of 25 or higher and a waist measurement of over 35 inches indicates you are overweight. Excess fat carried around the waist is believed to be particularly harmful. 

Even a small reduction in weight can help a lot. A five or ten percent drop in body weight helps lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. It also reduces the risk of diabetes, another known contributor to heart health. 


Women can take control of their heart health and immediately improve their odds of beating the number one killer women face as they age. Increased exercise, weight loss, a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle improvements will make a big difference. In most cases, heart disease is preventable by making the important lifestyle changes mentioned above.