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Foods that Pose Health Risk for Seniors

By , 6:17 pm on

In America, we are told that in order to be healthy, a person must consume a variety of foods from all the major food groups. It’s wise to eat a number of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy products, but the dietary requirements of adults change as they become older. Milk, for instance, is not the dietary imperative for seniors that it is for growing children.

As a Phoenix hourly home care provider, we often help seniors prepare nutritious and well balanced meals. However, we’ve found that many seniors do not know that as their dietary needs have changed, and that there are a handful of foods that have become potentially harmful to their health. Check out our list of foods that should be avoided by seniors – some might surprise you!

  • Raw Sprouts

    Raw foods such as alfalfa and clover sprouts are chock full of nutrition and enzymatic benefits, but their rawness can pose a problem for the elderly. The damp conditions under which seeds are sprouted into food are ideal for bacterial growth which can leave a senior more vulnerable to food borne illness caused by salmonella, listeria and E. coli.

  • Condensed Soups

    Although condensed soup offers convenience, it is often packed with sodium. Excess sodium can cause elevated blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke. In addition to canned soups, seniors should avoid foods with high-salt foods. To compensate for flavor loss, lemon juice, spices or no-salt substitutes may be added to foods at the table.

  • Raw Fish & Meat

    Sashimi, ceviche and steak tartare can easily become breeding grounds for a variety of illness-causing bacteria. Ensure any meats your aging loved one eats have been properly cooked. Seniors should never use the countertop to prepare meats and proper cleaning should be done to ensure the surface is sanitary for everyday use.

  • Undercooked Eggs

    Raw eggs can host a dietary disaster known as salmonella. The immune systems of younger adults may be able to ward off a salmonella infection, but seniors should not take the chance. Pasteurized eggs are a good alternative.

It is also important for seniors and their families to read the literature that comes with every prescription. There are numerous foods that may poorly interact with certain senior medications. For instance, grapefruit and grapefruit juice can affect the blood-level concentration of drugs including blood-pressure and cholesterol reducing drugs, putting a senior at serious risk for complication. If you are concerned about possible dangerous drug interactions, contact your local doctor or Phoenix elder care professional. They will be able to provide you with advice tailored to your loved one’s individual situation.

For more information about senior nutrition, please visit our website at or contact us directly at 602-388-1085.