Foods That Increase the Risk of Diabetes in the Elderly

By , 9:00 am on

Seniors at risk for diabetes may need to modify their diets. When seniors develop type 2 diabetes late in life, it’s usually caused by multiple factors, ranging from inactivity to alcohol consumption. Nutrition is a key factor. A poor diet can exhaust the cells designed to produce insulin. When insulin production is inadequate, diabetes risk increases exponentially. Ahead, learn more about the foods that raise a senior’s diabetes risk.

Starches

Many starchy foods have health benefits. For example, sweet potatoes are commonly celebrated as a superfood thanks to their potent combination of fiber, potassium, and vitamin D. While seniors shouldn’t cut starchy sweet potatoes out of their diet altogether, they should avoid pairing them with other starch-filled foods. When sweet potatoes are eaten with corn, rice, or pasta, the body may have a difficult time metabolizing that many carbs. It’s likely that blood sugar will spike as a result. Frequent blood sugar spikes put seniors at higher risk for diabetes, but eating well-balanced meals can keep those spikes to a minimum. At each meal, seniors should try to balance their starchy carbs with leafy green vegetables and lean proteins. 

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 a senior loved one living in Centennial, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Soda

For seniors trying to prevent diabetes, soft drinks simply aren’t worth the risk. In a 20-ounce bottle of soda, there are more than a dozen teaspoons of sugar. This sugar content is digested quickly by the body, which sends the blood sugar levels careening upward. Then the body needs to produce large amounts of insulin to compensate, which puts stress on the pancreas and other components of the endocrine system. To avoid this potentially damaging sequence of events, seniors should stop drinking soda. If they miss the carbonation, they can try drinking sparkling water beverages.

Red Meat

Though it may not be high in carbohydrate content, red meat can still wreak havoc on the body’s ability to produce insulin. Red meat can be difficult to digest, especially for seniors with weakened digestive systems. Straining to digest these high-fat proteins can result in oxidative stress and inflammation. When the body is in a constant state of inflammation or stress, the risk of diabetes increases. To prevent diabetes, seniors should replace beef with chicken, turkey, and fish. 

Preparing meals and monitoring loved one’s diet are just some of the many tasks a family caregiver provides, and sometimes caregivers can use a little time off from all the responsibilities. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Centennial, CO, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Trans Fats

There’s a direct correlation between cardiovascular health and diabetes risk. Seniors with good cardiovascular health are less likely to develop diabetes, and seniors with poor cardiovascular health are more likely to develop the condition. Because of this connection, any preventative diet should focus on enhancing cardiovascular health by cutting out trans fats. Trans fats raise the levels of bad cholesterol and lower the levels of good cholesterol. To avoid trans fats, seniors should stay away from margarine, processed baked goods, fried foods, and breakfast sandwiches. “Partially hydrogenated oil” in a list of ingredients is a key indicator of trans fats, as these oils are often used to fry or preserve foods.

Diabetes is a common condition among seniors, and a proper diet is important for staving off the disease. 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 home care. Centennial families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. If you need professional care for your senior loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at 303.957.3100.