Older adults who live alone may not eat as well as they should. Perhaps they never learned to cook because a spouse always did it for them. Or, they may have disabilities that make cooking difficult, like arthritic hands or cognitive problems. As a result, they may reach for easy to prepare and eat foods, like frozen dinners and other processed foods. The problem with that is processed foods are often some of the unhealthiest foods on the grocery store shelves.
Below are 4 reasons to help your older family member avoid processed foods.
#1: Eating Processed Foods Can Lead to Obesity
In a recent study, scientists found that people who consumed a diet that included lots of processed foods gained more weight than people who ate whole foods. In the study, participants spent two weeks eating a diet with processed foods and another two weeks eating whole foods. Both diets were set up to contain the same number of calories. However, when they ate processed foods, they chose to eat an average of 500 extra calories per day and gained about two pounds. On the whole foods diet, they lost 2 pounds during the two weeks.
#2: Processed Foods Contain More Sugar
Processed foods tend to contain a lot of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Sugar has a lot of empty calories. Eating too much of it can lead to insulin resistance and has been associated with heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
#3: Processed Foods Can Raise Blood Pressure
Processed foods typically contain a lot of salt to give them flavor. Consuming too much sodium contributes to high blood pressure. Experts recommend eating 2,300 mg of sodium per day or less.
#4: Processed Foods are Lower in Nutrients
Many processed foods aren’t as nutritious as their whole food counterparts. Even those that have vitamins added don’t provide as many nutrients, especially trace minerals, needed by the body for good health.
If your aging relative has difficulty cooking for themselves, elder care can help them to eat fewer processed foods and follow a healthier diet. An elder care provider can come to the house daily to prepare meals for the older adult that include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean proteins. They can also cook several meals in one day that can be frozen and reheated later, ensuring the senior always has something healthy to eat. Elder care providers can even drive the senior to the grocery store to help them shop.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care Services in Lake Wales FL, please contact the caring staff at Helping Hands Nursing Services today. To learn about our affordable rates and obtain a FREE assessment for your loved one, call (863) 616-1888.
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