10 foods to avoid as you age

Watching what you eat is important, and this is a fact that becomes clearer and clearer the older you get. Healthy dieting can add years to your life, but more importantly, it can make those years that much better, that much more enjoyable. Here are 10 foods that most seniors will want to avoid unless otherwise instructed by their physician:

  1. Grapefruit. This one may surprise you. This low-calorie treat is mainly water, but it's also loaded with vitamins and anti-oxidants and other properties that can interfere with prescription medication. Check with your doctor before your next grapefruit to see if this is still a viable option for you.
  2. Beans. Beans can cause gastrointestinal problems for people with sensitive stomachs. Unless you know you can handle it, keep beans to a minimum.
  3. Booze. A glass of wine now and then may be healthy for some, but it can be harmful for many in the 55+ crowd. Talk to your physician about how much alcohol is safe for you to drink on a weekly basis.
  4. Raw Vegetables. Another surprise, but raw vegetables aren't very good for your teeth. Cooked, stewed, steamed and pureed veggies, on the other hand, are about as good as it gets.
  5. Dairy. The body becomes less capable of properly digesting dairy the older you get. Some of us get lucky and can still drink a gallon of milk a day well into our sixties, but others may develop some mild to severe intolerance for lactose. Check out some non-dairy alternatives to milk and cheese.
  6. Fatty Meats. Anything with 20 percent fat and above is probably best avoided. Lean ground beef, turkey and chicken are still fair game for most seniors, though.
  7. Caffeine. If you love coffee but it disagrees with you, try decaf or making gentler brews until you find something you're comfortable with. Giving up caffeine is tough, but may be necessary.
  8. Salt. Too much salt can be very harmful to a senior. Try to avoid too much red meat and processed foods in order to cut your salt intake down considerably.
  9. Raw Sprouts. Raw sprouts contain a lot of vitamin B, but they have to be grown in very high humidity conditions, which makes them a hotbed for bacteria, which isn't good for someone with a weakened immune system.
  10. Fruit. Like vegetables, fruit aren't always good for your teeth. Try blending fruit into smoothies for a softer serve.

Obviously, these healthy food tips vary from person to person. For someone with strong teeth, fruit and raw veggies are fine. Talk to your physician and use your best judgement to make a choice.

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