Unhealthy Foods for Aging Adults

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Foods that Pose a Health Risk for Seniors in Tampa Bay, FL

We’re told that to be healthy, a person must consume a variety of foods from all the major food groups. It’s wise to eat a number of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and dairy products, but the dietary requirements of adults change as they become older. For instance, milk isn’t the dietary imperative for seniors that it is for growing children.

Family caregivers often help their senior loved ones prepare nutritious and well-balanced meals. However, many seniors don’t know that as their dietary needs have changed, there are a handful of foods that have become potentially harmful to their health. Check out this list of foods seniors should avoid.

Raw Sprouts

Raw foods such as alfalfa and clover sprouts are full of nutrition and beneficial enzymes, but they can pose a problem for the elderly. The damp conditions under which seeds are sprouted into food are ideal for bacterial growth, which can leave a senior more vulnerable to foodborne illness caused by salmonella, listeria, and E. coli.

Condensed Soups

Although condensed soup offers convenience, it’s often packed with sodium. Excess sodium can cause elevated blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke. Seniors should avoid high-salt foods altogether. To compensate for flavor loss, lemon juice, spices, or no-salt substitutes may be added to foods at the table.

Managing all the aspects of a loved one’s health, including diet, can be challenging for a family caregiver. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality home care service, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

Raw Fish & Meat

Sashimi, ceviche, and steak tartare can easily become breeding grounds for a variety of illness-causing bacteria. Ensure any meats your loved one eats have been properly cooked. Seniors should never use countertops to prepare meats, and proper cleaning should be done to ensure surfaces are sanitary for everyday use.

Preparing meals and monitoring their loved ones’ diets can be difficult for family caregivers, especially if their loved ones are living with cognitive challenges due to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If your senior loved one has Alzheimer’s and needs help managing daily tasks, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Clearwater Home Care Assistance provides reliable caregivers around the clock to help your loved one age in place safely and comfortably while living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Undercooked Eggs

Raw eggs can host a dietary disaster known as salmonella. The immune systems of younger adults may be able to ward off salmonella infections, but seniors shouldn’t take the chance. Pasteurized eggs are a good alternative.

Steam-in-the-Bag Veggies

While these options typically require less preparation time, they can be harmful to older adults. The plastics these frozen vegetables are sold in contain dangerous chemicals, such as bisphenol A. Heating the plastic bags and containers that store the vegetables could increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and various other disorders. The substances used to make the plastics can leak into the items when heated in the microwave. Instead, your loved one should use fresh vegetables when cooking. 

It’s also important for seniors and their families to read the literature that comes with their prescriptions. There are numerous foods that may interact poorly with certain medications. For instance, grapefruit and grapefruit juice can affect the concentration levels of some drugs, including blood pressure and cholesterol-reducing medications, putting a senior at serious risk for complications. If you’re concerned about possible dangerous drug interactions, contact your loved one’s doctor, who will be able to provide you with advice tailored to your loved one’s individual situation.

Because of decreased immunity and other age-related health concerns, seniors should avoid these foods to maintain optimal health. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional elder care. Clearwater families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.

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