If You're Over 50, Avoid These 10 Foods and Beverages Slideshow
As people hit a certain age threshold, alcohol affects them differently: They may have a lower tolerance or slower reaction times, and older people often take over-the-counter prescription medications that may have adverse reactions when combined with alcohol. Alcohol in excess may also worsen specific age-related conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and ulcers. There are, however, studies indicating that moderate drinkers are less likely to die from a form of heart disease than are people who never drink any alcohol.
Drinking too much coffee may accelerate the much-loathed wrinkling process. The ingestion of caffeine leads to a “pituitary adrenocortical response,” which raises the level of the hormone cortisol. Excess cortisol has been found to thin the skin, which can cause wrinkles and dullness.
Highly processed cured meats like hot dogs, bacon, and pepperoni are loaded with sodium; in fact, the average hot dog contains a quarter of the recommended daily allowance. Postmenopausal women are especially susceptible to weakened bone density and osteoporosis, conditions exasperated by high intakes of salt.
A properly functioning stomach is able to empty its contents quickly and efficiently, but as people age, their stomachs empty more slowly, increasing the risk of acid reflux. Foods especially high in fat, such as fried foods, tend to remain in the stomach much longer than other types of foods, leading to heartburn and reflux. Fried foods also weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) the muscle that prevents acid and stomach contents from moving backward into the esophagus.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
It’s estimated that our metabolism — the breakdown of nutrients to produce energy — slows up to 5 percent per decade. Staying active, eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods, and lowering overall caloric intake are ways to fight against a slowing metabolism, but eating foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup will have the opposite effect. A study out of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that high-fructose corn syrup may lead to increased obesity rates because of its negative effects on metabolism.
Highly Processed Carbohydrates
An over-reliance on highly refined carbohydrates such as white flour, sugar, cakes, or pastas spikes blood sugar and leads to an over production of insulin, which increases the risk of developing adult-onset diabetes. Research also demonstrates that refined carbohydrates are linked to higher instances of depression.
Constipation is another unfortunate reality of old age brought on by the slowing of digested material through the large intestine. Ice cream, everyone’s favorite frozen treat, isn’t doing your gastrointestinal tract any favors. Its high fat content, loads of lactose, and absence of any dietary fiber makes it a difficult dessert to process. Any easy remedy to constipation is increasing fiber and water intake.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people over the age of 65, but the threat begins much earlier in life. By 50, the walls of the heart grow thicker, and the valves grow more rigid. To stymie these changes, avoid any foods containing trans fatty acids. Two of the most common culprits are margarine and vegetable shortening, which raise LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and lower HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
One of the greatest fears among people over the age of 50 is developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. These debilitating diseases are intimately linked to cognitive functioning and memory recall. Microwave popcorn is particularly detrimental to brain health because it contains diacetyl, a chemical that may lead to a buildup of amyloid plaque within the brain. Studies show that amyloid plaque is one of the core proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Sexual function is another casualty of growing old, and while you may still be able to have a romantic evening with your partner, sex-related hormones like estrogen and testosterone inevitably decline for people in their 50s. Foods containing soy meal, soy protein isolate, or soy oil can throw off hormonal balance. But don’t fret about your love of tofu, soy sauce, or miso; fermented soy products don’t cause the same issues.