As you get older, you may begin to notice that your digestive system reacts differently to the foods you used to eat without problems. This is normal – but taking care of your intestinal health can help to smooth out these unpleasant changes and keep things regular.
Below we’ve put together some of the worst foods you shouldn’t eat if you’re over 40.
1. Hot dogs
They may be high in protein and keto-compatible, but processed meats can have adverse health effects. Deli meats, bacon, and hot dogs generally contain carcinogenic nitrates and nitrites and contain high amounts of sodium that raise blood pressure.
A study published in 2013 in the journal European Cytokine Network found that sodium nitrate increases oxidative stress, which can damage collagen and elastin, two substances that promote youthful skin.
2. Grilled or fried chicken
Unfortunately, exchanging that hot dog for fried or grilled meat won’t do you much good. Cooking meat at very high temperatures can increase the levels of heterocyclic amines in the protein, which can be carcinogenic.
Some (but not all) studies have linked high consumption of fried or grilled meat to colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer. Although research is ongoing, it’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to increasing your risk of cancer, which tends to strike older people. Limit yourself to one serving or less per week and marinate your meat before grilling to help reduce the production of these compounds.
3. Almond milk
As you get older, your risk of osteoporosis increases, giving you even more reason to eat calcium-rich foods. Milk is an excellent source of this bone-strengthening nutrient and if you choose the almond variety rather than dairy products, you may be missing out on the benefits of real milk.
A single glass of two-percent milk contains about 30 percent of your daily value for calcium.
If there are fats to avoid, it is trans fats. These fatty acids have been shown to raise your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol – the opposite of what you expect from dietary fat.
Butter and oil, on the other hand, can help lower your cholesterol and promote the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.
5. Canned soup
You probably don’t consider soup an unhealthy food, especially since it’s so easy to open a can for lunch or dinner. But canned foods tend to contain tons of sodium, and research has shown that older people are not as good at filtering out excess sodium as they were when they were younger.
A diet high in sodium can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of osteoporosis. It’s a good idea to make your own soups and freeze them in single servings to make thawing easier or at least choose low-sodium canned goods.
As we age, our slowing metabolism simply can’t handle the extra calories that come from fatty foods like French fries. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research found that heating oil to the smoke point while cooking stir-fries can reduce the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids due to oxidative breakdown.
Heart-healthy fats are the ones that nourish skin and joints. Instead of taking a bag of french fries to the drive-thru, choose to cook at home with a little olive oil and fresh herbs.
7. Hot Sauce
If you’re going through menopause, you’re going to want to keep the spices to a minimum. Very spicy foods, such as hot sauce, can trigger hot flashes.
Hot sauce can also be high in sodium, which can have a negative impact on blood pressure and bone health. Try adjusting your palate to milder seasonings, for now, you can try hot peppers instead.
8. Sugar-free snacks
If you shouldn’t have sugar, try snacks labeled “sugar-free” instead. This is not quite right. Sugar-free snacks often replace sugar with artificial ingredients or added fat.
Be on the lookout for foods that add large amounts of saturated or trans fat, excess sodium or extra refined flours to replace added sugars, as these additives can have an equally negative impact on health.
9. Sports drinks
You probably know that soft drinks are unhealthy, but you might mistakenly think that sports drinks are healthy – they are not, because they also contain a lot of sugar. Sweetened drinks are a source of empty calories and bring a lot of added sugar to the diet.
Research has shown that the average adult doesn’t need sports drinks, even when exercising – water works just fine.
Refined and processed carbohydrates, such as pasta, pretzels, bagels and many cereals, have a high glycemic index.
This means that their high carbohydrate load quickly raises blood sugar levels and can be a contributing factor to heart disease, weight gain, and diabetes. In addition, they don’t do any good for your skin.