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Foods that Seniors & Older Adults Should Avoid

By Kevin McClarren, 3:14 pm on

Our immune systems naturally become weaker with age. As this process takes place, it becomes harder for one’s immune system to stave off germs and other harmful bacteria, thus making it much easier to get sick. For seniors and older adults, there are a handful of foods which can threaten one’s immune system and overall health and should be avoided. Here are a few examples, presented by the Warren 24 hour home care experts at Home Care Assistance:

  • Sprouts – Bean sprouts and alfalfa are known to be chock full of enzymatic, digestive and nutritional value. However, the humid and warm conditions that are necessary to grow the sprouts from seedlings, produces an ideal state in which bad bacteria can thrive. Things like E. coli and salmonella can proliferate to extreme levels, leaving seniors and older adults who consume them extremely ill.
  • Raw & Undercooked Eggs – Foods that may contain raw or undercooked eggs can subject the body to many different food borne illnesses, with the most commonly known being salmonella. Foods such as French toast, hollandaise sauce, cake batter, raw cookie dough and homemade salad dressing, for example, should be avoided by the elderly who often have compromised immune systems.
  • Raw Fish & Beef – From sushi and ceviche to steak tartar or carpaccio, raw proteins including both fish and beef should not be consumed by the elderly. For seniors especially, there is a growing concern about the risk of consuming raw fish. Problems can range from mild abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea to more life threatening conditions and illnesses.
  • Shellfish – Mussels, clams and oysters in particular contain potent toxins known as marine toxins, which can cause food poisoning. While these toxins don’t often pose a threat to the body unless consumed in excess, a senior’s weakened immune system can leave a senior with a serious case of food poisoning which is often followed by neurological symptoms such as depression and fatigue.

By all appearances, foods such as eggs, fish, and vegetable sprouts appear healthy on the surface. However, based on how and if they’re properly prepared, these foods may contain bacteria and food borne illnesses, and should be avoided by seniors and older adults.

For more information about senior nutrition and health, contact Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Warren families trust. Call 908-450-9400 to schedule a free in-home consultation, and learn how we are helping change the way the world ages.