Healthy eating is at the core of a well-balanced lifestyle, and the importance of eating well doesn’t become less important with advanced age; rather, it can become more central to one’s health.
And while healthy eating is an admirable goal, it is not always easy, especially when budget and food preparation abilities are taken into account.
But eating nutritious food is only half the battle; the other half is avoiding unhealthy food, and knowing the difference can be tricky.
Cindy Cordon, dietary team leader at the Los Angeles Jewish Home’s Grancell Village campus, told RetirementHomes.com there are a few major guidelines seniors can abide by which will help keep unhealthy foods away.
“Avoid processed foods, as well as packaged items,” Cordon said. “These foods typically are high in sodium, which improves shelf life, but they’re usually full of salt, MSG, and nitrates.”
According to Cordon, some of the most common prepared foods found in cafeterias include ravioli and canned spaghetti, but these foods, which are pre-heated, have already lost many of their enzymes and fiber.
Steve Barlam, chief professional officer of LivHOME, a home care agency with branches across the United States, told RetirementHomes.com his experience has showed him there is one common food, popular among seniors, which can be problematic for this age group: bagels and smoked salmon.
According to Barlam, smoked salmon contains two major health risks, particularly for seniors: salt/sodium, and germs.
“Salt can deplete valuable calcium, key to preventing osteoporosis, and aggravate health issues common among seniors such as hypertension, heart disease, kidney disorders, dehydration and swelling,” Barlam said.
He said smoked salmon, as a raw food, is more likely to house germs, and while many adults won’t be harmed by small presence of germs, seniors, with a more precarious immune system, should avoid raw and smoked foods as a result.
Gailla Deiters, a certified colon therapist based in Hawaii, added that cheese and red meats should not be regular components of seniors’ diets.
“We all love cheese. Yet cheese is a slow processor in the colon and can cause constipation,” Deiters said. “This is also true of red meat such as beef, pork and lamb,” she said.