A healthy diet makes for a healthy life, when coupled with a regular exercise routine and adequate sleep. While we may be at ease consuming a variety of healthy foods at a young age, our bodies are subject to change as we grow older, therefore making certain seemingly healthy foods less compatible to our health. Most often, we ignore the impact that age has on our ability to process certain foods, thus affecting our physiological functioning in the long run.
As the years roll by, our organs slowly begin to lose their agile repairing power, making recovery from the effects of certain foods quite taxing on our health. While we may think that healthy foods suit all age groups, this does not hold true in several cases. Therefore, it is best to be wary of these six healthy foods that the elderly should not eat, in order to avoid health implications in ourselves and our elderly loved ones
Raw eggs and foods that contain under-cooked eggs
Eggs are considered to be a superbly rich source of protein and other nutrients. Several people in their 20s to 40s consume raw egg as part of their high-protein diet, especially if they indulge in workouts that aim to add more muscle mass. Similarly, several people consume foods such as unpasteurised eggnog, French toast, desserts like tiramisu and so on that contain under-cooked eggs. These foods are a big no-no for the elderly! This is because raw eggs may contain Salmonella bacteria, both on the outside and the inside of eggs, causing illnesses such as food poisoning.
Of course, sprouts are a delicious source of nutrition, vitamins, minerals and other health-vital nutrients. Bean sprouts, raw green gram, broccoli, alfalfa are some of the renowned sprouts known for their nutritional value, especially when consumed raw. However, the elderly must avoid raw sprouts as they can be a breeding hub for germs, especially the Salmonella, E. coli, which can cause serious illnesses that the elderly find difficult to recuperate from.
Dairy and dairy derivatives are excellent sources of calcium, an essential mineral at every stage of life. However, soft cheeses such as blue-veined cheeses can house bacteria and food poisoning bugs that can cause listeria, making them highly unsuitable for the elderly to consume. Cooked soft cheeses are fine for consumption, because the heat kills bacteria.
Raw, unpasteurised milk is an absolute must-avoid food for the elderly. Unpasteurised milk contains bacteria and protozoa that can cause diseases such as brucellosis, listeriosis, tuberculosis, typhoid fever and diphtheria, among others. These bacteria can only be killed through pasteurisation or heating of milk to a certain temperature for a set period of time. To gain requisite calcium to prevent osteoporosis and other age-related bone illnesses, one can consume plant sources of calcium as well as tofu, cooked broccoli, almonds and kale.
Rare and cold meats
While we may prefer our steaks or burger patties to be rare or medium-rare, the elderly cannot take the gamble with their health by consuming raw or rare meats, especially if they are ground. The process of grinding meat can introduce potentially harmful germs and bacteria, such as Salmonella, E. coli, to the meat, which can result in serious illness and sometimes even death.
Raw sea food
Sushi, sashimi, ceviche and the like are delicious, no doubt; however, they fall under the list of foods that elderly ought to avoid. Raw or under-cooked seafood can contain bacteria, germs and potentially harmful toxins, that do not get killed our flushed out due to lack of heat being introduced into the sea food. Raw fish, clams, oysters and mussels are to be strictly avoided.
As we age, our bodies become older, but our minds become wiser. Let us indulge our wise elderly with the right foods for a healthy life. Fresh fruit, leafy vegetables, cooked fish, and nuts containing omega 3 fatty acids help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Cutting down on red meat and processed meats, replacing them with cooked fish, pasteurised dairy and dairy products, and plant protein can have a positive health impact. Whole fruits, berries and melons can be consumed in place of juices, for adequate fibre and vitamin supply. Whole grain foods are great sources of energy and carbohydrates – this works great for all age groups!