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10 Foods the Elderly Should Avoid Eating

November 10, 2022
Foods the Elderly Should Avoid Eating

Nutrition is an essential part of senior health. While some food choices are more nutritious than others, it's vital to make sure that you eat a variety of foods from all major food groups daily.

This article will teach you how to choose healthy foods as well as which foods are best avoided by seniors.

The best solution is to have your aging loved one where they can experience nutrition benefits at assisted living communities. These control the caloric intake and quality of foods so that elderly members experience the best possible benefits.

However, in case you have mom or dad at home, try to avoid foods like:

1. Raw Eggs

Eggs are a major source of protein and have many health benefits, but they also carry some risks.

In fact, the egg industry recommends that you cook eggs until the yolk is firm because raw eggs can contain salmonella bacteria. Salmonella poisoning can cause serious illness in both adults and children alike, so it’s best to avoid raw eggs if you are elderly or have a weak immune system. That includes homemade mayonnaise, eggnog during the holidays, and hollandaise sauce.

2. Undercooked Meats

It's important to note that undercooked meats are dangerous to the elderly. This is because undercooked meats can be contaminated with fecal matter and are, therefore, more likely to contain bacteria than other foods. These bacteria can cause illness in the elderly and make them more susceptible to foodborne illnesses.

To ensure that your meat is safe for consumption, it must be cooked all the way through until an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 C) has been reached. If you are unsure whether your meat has reached this temperature, use a meat thermometer or ask someone who knows what they're doing.

Assisted living and nutrition go hand in hand when professional cooks check the temperature of the meat before it is served.

3. Deli Meats

As you age, your kidneys and liver may not be working as well as they used to. You'll also have a diminished appetite and less energy than when you were younger. This can make it hard for older adults to eat enough high-quality nutrition on their own—particularly if they're not eating at home or on the go often.

This is why deli meats are so dangerous: they are packed with sodium (a common ingredient in processed foods), increasing blood pressure. In general, you want to avoid any increase in salt because it can lead to heart disease or stroke later in life. Deli meats are also often processed with chemicals such as nitrates that may increase the risk of cancer.

4. Raw Fish & Sushi

As you probably know, raw fish and sushi can be contaminated with parasites. These organisms can survive in a frozen state, so it’s important to cook your fish thoroughly before eating it. Sushi is also high in sodium and fat, which are unsuitable for your heart. If you are considering an assisted living facility for your loved one, be sure “seafood night” involves fully cooked pieces of fish and not raw oysters, clams, or other items.

5. Sprouts

Sprouts are a reliable source of vitamins and minerals. In fact, they are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B1, and vitamin B2. They also contain substantial amounts of vitamin E, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. 

Sprouts are, unfortunately, virtual breeding grounds for bacteria that cause salmonella and E-coli. The weaker digestive system of elderly residents can end up getting severely harmed by sprouts.

6. Unpasteurized Dairy (Soft Cheese) and Juice

As we get older, our immune systems become less effective at fighting off illness and disease. Unpasteurized dairy products are one of the foods that should be avoided by seniors because they can carry harmful bacteria like listeria, salmonella, and E. coli.

If you want to enjoy milk and juice without worrying about it causing health problems as you age, make sure they're pasteurized before drinking them!

7. Soda and Empty Calories

Soda and other sugary drinks can be a disaster for your health. They are high in calories and sugar, which can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. Sodas also contain phosphoric acid that eats away at tooth enamel. If you want to keep your teeth as strong and healthy as possible, it's best to avoid these beverages at all costs.

8. Alcohol

Alcohol can be bad for the elderly. Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration, liver damage, high blood pressure, heart problems, cancer, and dementia.

There is a slight caveat here. If a doctor monitors the health of an elderly loved one, there may be some benefits to drinking a glass of red wine at night. This should be done only with direct consent from a doctor.

9. Hard, Tough Foods

Hard, tough foods can be challenging to chew and cause dental problems. If you have trouble chewing, you might break your teeth or chip them. They can also become stuck in your throat, causing choking and discomfort.

Dental needs are a critical concern for any elderly resident, assisting living, and nutrition directors. Therefore, careful consideration goes into avoiding foods that may cause chewing problems.

10. Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a delicious, tangy fruit that’s great for breakfast or as a snack. But if you have a history of kidney stones, it might be smart to avoid eating grapefruit—it can interfere with certain medications and cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when eaten alongside those drugs.  Grapefruit can also interact with some overnight blood pressure medications (including grapefruit-flavored versions), leading to heartburn.

Why Assisted Living is Good for Senior Nutrition

There are many reasons why assisted living communities are an excellent choice for senior nutrition. The first reason is that they house people who are in the same boat, so to speak. They all need help with their dietary needs, and they can all relate to each other on this topic.

Another reason is that assisted living communities have the resources to provide nutritional meals, which may not be as easily accessible if you live alone or in a smaller apartment dwelling. These communities also have nutritional counselors and education programs available for all residents who have questions about their diet or would like to improve their health through better eating habits.

Additionally, most assisted living facilities will allow you to cook your own meals if you choose (or if you don't want the hassle of meal preparation).

Huntington Manor Promotes Healthy Senior Nutrition

As a senior, you are faced with many challenges. Your body is aging and can no longer process food the way it used to. In addition, your taste buds may be dulled, and you may not like certain foods as much as you did when younger.

Huntington Manor promotes healthy seniors by providing nutritional information to residents and offering healthy food options for them to choose from. If you need assistance in making sure that your diet is balanced and nutritious, our staff is here for you.

Call our team today to schedule a visit so you can see for yourself the nutritional guidelines and detailed considerations our team applies to every meal. We want your loved one to have a comfortable, healthy, and happy later life, and nutrition is a key ingredient in that success.

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