As your senior loved one ages, his or her diet becomes more important. While you may know that eating fresh, unprocessed foods is a key lifestyle factor in promoting a long and healthy life, you may not realize that certain health foods can negatively affect your loved one. To ensure you know which foods are not as healthy as they seem, check out this list of common “health” foods, presented by Home Care Assistance of Naples.
1. “Diet” Foods
Despite the seemingly health-conscious label, diet foods often have a large amount of harmful ingredients. Though diet foods have less calories, they usually contain artificial sweeteners. Recent studies show that these ingredients may cause brain conditions, and have been linked to sugar cravings and weight gain. Instead of going for the diet and low-fat versions of your loved one’s favorite foods, purchase the original versions and encourage your loved one to eat those foods less frequently.
2. Lean Deli Meats
Turkey is often singled out as a healthy type of meat, but beware of deli cuts laden with salt, corn syrup, and other harmful additives. In addition, cold cuts are a source of listeria, a bacterium that can be especially harmful to older adults. Rather than serving your elderly loved one deli turkey or other cold cuts, consider buying a full-size turkey or chicken that a family member or hourly caregiver in Naples can slice for your loved one. This way, your senior loved one can still get a healthy fix of protein, without ingesting the harmful extra ingredients in the cold cut versions.
3. Smoothies and Juices
As 20% of a healthy diet comes from fruit, it can be tempting to give your loved one fruit juices or smoothies to reach this dietary requirement. Pre-made juices and smoothies, however, contain large amounts of sugar and often lack the fiber and other nutrients found in whole fruit. If your elderly loved one wants to enjoy a smoothie, try making one at home with his favorite fruits and vegetables. Likewise, if your loved one would like a cup of orange juice with his or her breakfast, choose one that contains 100% juice and encourage her to alternate drinking juice with water or to add ice cubes to the drink.
4. Starchy Vegetables
Vegetables like corn and potatoes are healthy in moderation, but they contain more calories than non-starchy veggies and may also raise seniors’ blood sugar levels. In addition, many of these foods usually come served drenched in butter and salt, which can negate the healthy benefits of these veggies. Particularly if your loved one is a diabetic or is at risk of developing Type II diabetes, make sure your loved one eats a 3-1 ratio of non-starchy and starchy vegetables.
Deciphering which “health” foods are actually good for your senior loved one can be tricky, but finding professional assistance that can help promote a healthy senior diet doesn’t have to be. With Home Care Assistance, an expertly trained hourly or live-in caregiver in Naples can assist your loved one with grocery shopping, meal preparation, cooking, and other daily tasks. Learn more about how our high-caliber caregivers can promote senior health and wellness by giving a Care Manager a call at 239.449.4701 and scheduling a free no-obligation consultation today.