As we age, our bodies undergo several changes, and our nutritional requirements also change. Proper nutrition becomes even more critical in maintaining good health and preventing age-related diseases. The food we eat provides the fuel for our bodies to function correctly, and a healthy diet is essential to support all the physiological processes of the body. Here are 5 foods to avoid after 50 and suggestions for healthy alternatives:
#1 – Soft Drinks
This one was no surprise, right? By now, everyone may have heard that regular soft drinks contain lots of sugar. Consider, an average 12-ounce serving contains 18 teaspoons of sugar. If you drink one cola per day, that’s 65 pounds of sugar each year!
Consider sparkling waters or unsweetened teas. Yes, I know it’s not the same, but this change can produce amazing health benefits. While the diet version of soft drinks has zero calories, they also contain too many chemicals to recommend for a healthy diet.
#2 – Deli Meat
We were all raised on these tasty meat products and never were concerned about lunch meat nutritional facts. Why now? Is lunch meat bad for you?
Great question. As we age, so do our bodies. Excessive sodium is not a heart-friendly food we need to indulge in. In fact, a 3-ounce serving of bologna (3 slices), contains over 1000 mg of sodium. That’s half of your daily recommended allowance, and we haven’t even started talking about the chips!
Even if we forget about the salt content, there is sodium nitrate. Wait, does lunch meat have sodium nitrate? What is that used for?
Deli meats often contain sodium nitrate. This is used as a preservative and a coloring agent and has been linked to serious health problems.
What deli meats are not processed?
While there are several low-sodium lunch meat options, there is still the issue of preservatives. For safer alternatives to deli meat, I suggest skipping the deli counter altogether.
Instead, consider a classic tuna fish sandwich. Blend it with your choice of mayo and you have a high-protein option, packed with healthy omega-3 fats. Is tuna fish processed? Technically yes. It does undergo a processing method during the cooking and canning stage. They are low-sodium or no-salt-added choices available as well.
Serve your fresh tuna salad on a slice or two of hearty bread for a delicious meal!
#3 – White bread
Speaking of sandwiches and bread, it’s finally time to say goodbye to white bread.
Chances are if you eat bread from time to time, this is not an issue for you. However, if you are like the general population, slices of white bread are part of a daily diet.
Why is what is white bread bad for you?
- White bread is made using highly-processed flour. This simple carbohydrate is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and spikes your blood sugar.
- The process of making white bread removes the bran and germ, which removes essential nutrients, including minerals, healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
- When you stop eating white bread, your body burns stored energy as glycogen. This leads to weight loss and water loss.
- Eating white bread can affect your mood. The rapid fluctuations in your blood sugar levels can cause mood swings, fatigue, and depression.
Replace your white bread slices with these tasty options:
- Whole-grain tortillas
- Cauliflower bread
- Whole-grain bread
- Ezekiel bread
#4 – Canned soup
While canned soup makes for quick and easy lunch ideas, it is packed with a ton of sodium.
Why is sodium bad for you again?
High levels of sodium consumption contribute to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.
In case you’re wondering, one (10.5 ounce) of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup has 50 grams of carbs, 5 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, AND 1200 mg of sodium!
If you insist on indulging in the occasional can of soup, be sure to choose the low-sodium option, which can save you around 30% of your sodium intake. Read the labels for all “Healthy” options as they have a tendency to only reduce the carbs, but still have high sodium amounts.
#5 – Grapefruit
On the plus side, grapefruits are very high in vitamin C. In fact, just one medium grapefruit gives you 100% of your daily recommended allowance.
Grapefruits are low in calories and high in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.
Grapefruits may help you lose weight, by giving you a feeling of fullness and reducing calorie intake.
Grapefruits have been shown to improve heart health and lower bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.
So why is grapefruit dangerous?
It turns out that grapefruit can interfere with the body’s ability to break down or metabolize certain statin medications. When you eat large amounts of grapefruit, your blood levels of statins can increase, raising the possibility of side effects.
What about grapefruit juice and blood pressure medicine?
Grapefruit can interfere with how your body absorbs some drugs, including some blood pressure medicines. This can leave too much or too little of the drug in your bloodstream, which may be dangerous.
You should consult with a healthcare professional on the best alternatives or restrictions if you are taking any medications. While there are several different foods that can provide the nutrient equivalent of grapefruit, seek the guidance of your primary care physician for guidance on this one.
In conclusion, maintaining a healthy diet is crucial to enjoying a long, fulfilling life, especially as we age. As we reach our 50s and beyond, it becomes increasingly important to pay attention to the foods we consume and avoid those that can cause harm to our bodies.
Rick Huey is a fitness writer who has dedicated his life to living an active lifestyle. With more than 30 years of experience in the fitness industry, Rick is a respected contributor for FitFab50.com, where he shares his wealth of knowledge with a wide audience. His dedication to promoting the benefits of living an active lifestyle has inspired many people to pursue their own fitness journeys with enthusiasm and dedication.