10 Foods Seniors Should Avoid

By Pete Lane, 9:00 am on

While eating a healthy diet is important at any age, seniors need to be particularly cautious about their food choices. Older adults often have weakened immune systems, which makes it more difficult to fight off foodborne illnesses. Here are a few foods that can interact with medications or exacerbate health conditions among seniors.

1. Soft Cheeses

Because of their low acidity and high moisture level, brie, camembert, and gorgonzola are perfect breeding grounds for Listeria and other bugs that can be dangerous for seniors with weakened immune systems. Cooked soft cheeses are safe to eat since the heat kills bacteria.

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 Centennial home care. Services our caregivers provide include 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. Undercooked Eggs

Raw or undercooked eggs can increase a senior’s risk of developing Salmonella food poisoning. All eggs should be cooked until both the yolks and whites are solid. Unpasteurized eggnog, homemade mayonnaise, and hollandaise sauce should also be avoided. 

3. Raw Fish and Shellfish

Lobster, mussels, scallops, and other shellfish should always be cooked thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria. Raw fish may contain parasitic worms that cause illness. If your loved one likes sushi, make sure the fish has been frozen for at least four days before using it to kill parasites.

4. Raw Milk

Although it may seem healthy to buy fresh milk straight from a local dairy or farmer’s market, seniors should only purchase pasteurized milk from supermarkets. Unpasteurized milk may contain a wide range of illness-causing bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli. 

5. Grapefruit

Seniors who take medications for high blood pressure, insomnia, and anxiety should consult their doctors and read their medication labels before eating grapefruit. Grapefruit can interact with certain medications, which can result in serious side effects.

6. Undercooked Meats

E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and other bacteria are found on undercooked meat, which can cause food poisoning. Seniors should only eat meats that have been cooked thoroughly to remove any signs of blood or pink flesh. 

7. Unpasteurized Juices

Fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices may contain high levels of bacteria from the inside or outside of the fruit or vegetable. Seniors should opt for high-quality pasteurized juices to reduce their likelihood of foodborne illness.

8. Raw Sprouts

Bean sprouts are grown in warm, moist conditions that are ideal for bacteria growth. Seniors should only eat sprouts that are cooked until steaming hot throughout. 

9. Processed Foods

Many seniors turn to processed foods for their ease of preparation. However, these foods contain high levels of fat, sodium, sugars, and preservatives that are especially harmful for seniors with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Centennial live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place.

10. Cold Meats

Salami, chorizo, pepperoni, and Parma ham are usually cured and fermented and are not pre-cooked, which can increase the risk of parasitic diseases like toxoplasmosis. Seniors should cook cold meats thoroughly, purchase items labeled “ready-to-eat,” or freeze them for four days before using.

According to the latest research, toxoplasmosis may be associated with various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who do not have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. For trusted Centennial Alzheimer’s care, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. For details about our customized and high-quality senior care plans, give us a call at 303.957.3100.

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