Red meat can contribute to several health conditions, ranging from cardiovascular disease to a shortened life span. While seniors may not want to give up burgers and steaks, cutting down on red meat consumption could substantially boost their health. Here are five reasons seniors should cut red meat out of their diets.
1. Increases Life Expectancy
Studies show red meat consumption can reduce a person’s life span. A study conducted by a team of Harvard researchers searched for correlations between cause of death and consumption of red meat. The study participants with the highest red meat consumption tend to die at younger ages than participants who ate less red meat. Common causes of death for red meat eaters included heart disease and cancer. When researchers adjusted the data to compensate for other unhealthy habits like smoking or lack of exercise, participants with diets rich in red meat still died younger.
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2. Reduces Acid Levels
For optimal health, bodies need balanced pH levels. Many popular foods are acidic, which can throw off the body’s pH balance. Red meat is acid-forming, as is soda, coffee, and white flour. When following a diet filled with these foods and beverages, the body may not be able to neutralize the acid. When acid levels become too high, the body becomes more susceptible to disease. To ensure unwanted acidity is neutralized, seniors should make sure to follow a diet rich in vegetables, which are alkaline.
3. Prevents Constipation
Many seniors face difficulties with their digestive health. Adding red meat to the mix can exacerbate digestive issues, as it’s known to cause constipation. The body digests red meat more slowly than other foods—the reduced rate of digestion can lead to constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain. Seniors who want to increase their digestive regularity should limit their red meat intake and add lean proteins to their diets, as they are easier to digest. Options include fish, chicken, and vegetarian favorites like tofu.
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4. Decreases the Risk for Cancer and Serious Illnesses
Red meat is high in saturated fats, which can lead to inflammation. When inflammation becomes chronic, it creates an internal environment more susceptible to cancer. Cancers commonly associated with high red meat consumption include colon cancer and bowel cancer. The saturated fats present in red meat can also increase the risk for diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Boosts Energy Levels
As the body digests red meat slowly, the energy release process slows down as well. Instead of getting a burst of energy from a meal filled with red meat, seniors may feel sluggish and in the mood for a nap. Red meat also impacts hormone levels, which can decrease energy levels. Eating red meat can raise estrogen levels too high, which throws off the body’s hormonal balance and saps the body’s energy.
Removing red meat from the diet is a great way to increase longevity and boost overall health. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care. Centennial Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Call one of our Care Managers at (303) 957-3100 to create a customized in-home care plan.