Like people in other age groups, older adults need a variety of foods to maintain optimal health. Lean meats, fruits, and vegetables should make up the largest portions of each meal. However, there are some foods seniors should avoid.
1. Processed Meats
Bacon, deli meats, hot dogs, sausages, and other processed meats tend to have high amounts of fat and salt. Unhealthy fats contribute to high LDL cholesterol. Many older adults develop sensitivity to salt, which leads to fluid retention and high blood pressure. Uncooked deli meats and hot dogs might also harbor harmful bacteria that pose a health hazard for older adults with weak immune systems.
Quitting unhealthy foods is just one of the many ways seniors can boost their health. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of elderly home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
2. Baked Goods
Commercially made baked goods are rich in fat and sugar, which lead to excessive weight gain and high cholesterol levels. Sugar can exacerbate inflammation, which affects the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system, and cognitive health. Additional inflammation isn’t good for seniors with arthritis or other inflammatory conditions.
3. Sweetened Beverages
Sweet juices and sodas contain an abundance of sugar. Along with contributing to inflammation, the drinks may also cause weight gain and lead to diabetes or insulin resistance. Some sodas contain food dyes that may lead to the development of malignancies.
4. Energy Drinks
The extensive amount of caffeine in energy drinks interferes with the ability to get a sufficient amount of restful sleep. Caffeine also has diuretic properties that can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Dehydration may also cause premature skin wrinkling. The sugar found in energy drinks and other sweetened beverages has also been known to damage tooth enamel and connective cartilage.
Margarine contains trans fats that increase LDL cholesterol levels and potentially lead to plaque formation. Eating margarine also contributes to oxidative stress, which leads to the early damage and demise of cells. Trans fats have also been associated with causing dehydration.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. University Park families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
6. Vegetable Meat Substitutes
Seniors often switch to meat substitutes to lower their cholesterol levels and avoid unnecessary weight gain. However, veggie burgers and similar products lack vitamin B12, which is a nutrient needed for cell replication, cognitive health, and other functions. Plant-based meats also lack omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for cardiovascular health. Older adults may be better off sticking to small portions of lean meat and getting plenty of physical activity.
7. Snack Foods
Most snacks have high salt content, which could lead to excessive weight gain. Several products also contain monosodium glutamate, which is added to increase appetite. Along with causing weight gain, a steady diet of snack foods doesn’t provide the body with the nutrients needed to stay healthy.
Many seniors need help giving up unhealthy foods and preparing nutritious meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. University Park seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (214) 363-3400.