Elders should avoid ‘killer’ Western diet

senior care omahaA recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine further supports what many of us have believed for years — a diet high in fat and sugar, aka a typical Western diet, can take years off your life. The research looked at the eating habits of more than 5,000 adults in the UK and found that those who ate large amounts of foods that are fried and sweet food as well as processed meat, red meat, white bread, butter, etc., doubled their risk of poor health (including developing chronic conditions like heart disease) and premature death during old age, the Daily Mail reported.

While the impact of diet on age-related diseases has already been studied extensively, this new research has adopted a more holistic approach. From 1985 to 2009, the study followed 3,775 men and 1,575 women with a mean age of 51. By examining and assessing their diets over the years, as well as conducting health screenings every five years, investigators were able to identify death rates and chronic conditions among participants. In short, those who ate a Western diet were far more likely to be physically unfit, develop chronic conditions and even die than participants who stuck to a healthier diet.

Senior nutrition tips (via HelpGuide.org)

  • Reduce sodium — Helps prevent water retention and high blood pressure.
  • Eat “good” fats — Monounsaturated fats found in foods like olive oil, avocados, fish, walnuts and flaxseed help protect the body against heart disease.
  • Add fiber — Found in many raw foods and whole grains, fiber helps avoid constipation and lowers the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Avoid “bad” carbs — White flour, refined sugar, white rice, et al digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar.
  • Steer clear of hidden sugar — Added sugar can be found in bread, canned soups, frozen fruit, pasta sauce, fast food, instant mashed potatoes — the list goes on and on.
  • Cook smart — Prepare foods in ways that preserves nutrients.

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