Renae Diggles

October 20, 2020

Foods to Avoid as You Get Older

Renae Diggles

October 20, 2020

At any age, you can turn your diet around and focus on making positive food choices. As you get older, it’s important to choose healthy foods to reduce the risks of developing chronic health conditions. But many people don’t know the foods to avoid as they get older.

Eating foods that are sugary or salty is unhealthy at any age. And did you know that it’s really important to reduce the number of fatty foods that you eat? Last but not least, alcohol should be limited or better still, completely avoided.

salt on a spoon

Avoid Adding Salt to Your Diet

By having a diet high in sodium or salt you significantly increase your risk of developing chronic diseases. Some of those chronic illnesses include high blood pressure and heart disease.

You might think that you need to add salt to foods to get an adequate intake to meet your health needs. But salt occurs naturally in foods including meat, eggs, vegetables and milk. Therefore, there’s usually no reason to add salt to foods as you’ll get enough from eating a natural diet.

Restricting your salt intake as you get older is a positive health choice. Try to avoid salty foods and when you shop, look for the lower salt varieties. If you think you can’t live without adding salt to food, consider using alternative herbs and spices. You’ll be surprised how good they can taste.

red wine in a glass

Limit Your Alcohol Intake

There are lists of foods to avoid for optimal health, but alcohol is definitely high up on the list. Unlike other foods, alcohol is a discretionary food with no essential nutrients. It is loaded with calories, is bad for the waistline, and does nothing to benefit one’s health.

Many Australians enjoy a drink or two. But in order to reduce risks when you drink the Australian evidence-based guidelines suggest limiting or avoid alcohol completely.

The current guidelines state the following:

  • For healthy men and women, drink no more than 10 standard drinks per week
  • For healthy men and women, drink no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
  • The less you choose to drink, the lower your risk of alcohol-related harm.

Fried chicken burger with chips

Avoid Fatty Foods

There are different types of fats. Some are worse than others. Saturated fats are really bad for you. You’ll usually find them in pastries, deep-fried foods, potato crisps, and creamy foods. These saturated fatty foods should only be eaten very occasionally.

Although you may love eating a dessert in the evening, or a cake with your morning cup of tea, avoiding those saturated fats is important to maintain good health. Consider swapping those fatty foods for a healthier choice. For example, you can bake a fish fillet instead of frying some battered fish. You can opt for reduced-fat varieties of food such as skim milk or fat-free yogurts. And you can use cooking spray to coat a pan instead of deep-frying your foods. This will significantly reduce the amount of fat that is absorbed by the food that you’re cooking.

There are plenty of healthy foods that contain naturally occurring fats. These are a much better choice than adding saturated fats to your diet. Healthy fats are found in foods such as oily fish, nuts, and avocado. While these fats are not as bad as saturated fats, it’s important to remember that fat is higher in calories than protein and carbohydrates. If you’re watching your waistline, limit your fats as much as possible.

rows of colourful macaroons

Sugary Foods are Discretionary Foods

Sugars are found naturally in many foods such as fruits and milk. These foods are good for you and you don’t need to avoid them.

The sugary foods that you should be avoiding are those that have a large amount of processed sugar. These are foods such as sugary drinks, sweets, and soft drinks. Aim to reduce those sugars in your diet.

Sugary foods are often very high in calories and can add to weight gain. They’re also typically lacking in other essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals and give us little benefit other than added calories. These foods should be occasional food. Day to day, you should choose foods that are low in sugar or sugar-free to help maintain a healthy weight.

Finally, choosing fresh foods including fruits and vegetables will benefit your health. A diet that’s high in fibre is also beneficial, opting for whole grains rather than processed, sugary foods. By including regular exercise and a balanced diet in your life you’ll improve your overall health and wellbeing.


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