Health

5 foods to avoid if you’re over 50

Let’s face it, as we age, do we really need to eat anything that’s going to clog our arteries, raise our blood pressure or cause us even more restless sleep?

Here are five foods that the experts say midlifers would do well to steer clear of:

Cut out the white stuff. Yes, salt

Too much salt in your diet negatively impacts your blood pressure. Salt causes your body to retain water and the extra water your body stores raises your blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on your heart, kidneys, arteries and brain. High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease. The amount of salt you eat has a direct effect on your blood pressure

Adding insult to injury is that if you have too high a salt intake, it may mean that some blood pressure medicines (such as diuretics) don’t work as well as they could

While you may already know to push away the crisps, salt lurks stealthily in other foods including processed meats and cheeses, frozen food, pizza and even breakfast cereals

Bacon isn’t your friend

In the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis or a related chronic joint problem and there are certain foods that will only serve to aggravate the problem. Researchers have learned that COX-2 enzymes are more active and cause more joint inflammation when you eat more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. High up on the Arthritis Foundation’s list of no-no foods is bacon, along with meats, egg yolks, corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean and cottonseed oil, margarine and pretty much anything fried

The third glass of wine

Yes, we all cling to those studies that show a moderate amount of wine is good for our hearts. The problem comes in the definition of moderate.Many governments produce drinking guidelines and these vary worldwide and factors such as your body weight, age, gender, medications and health status will affect what’s the right level for you. However, nobody is calling a half-bottle a night ‘moderate’. Heavy drinking can hurt your heart and liver. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in people who abuse alcohol

The evil side of sugar

Most people avoid sugar to avoid gaining weight. But that’s only part of the sugar story. Researchers have found that too many sweets can make you age faster in a number of ways. When you eat sugar — whether in the form of a pint of ice cream, a chocolate bar or the carbohydrates in a basket of dinner rolls - your body converts that sugar to glucose. One major health issue linked to high blood glucose is diabetes. The Mayo Clinic says diabetes itself is dangerous enough, but it can also lead to further health problems such as cardiovascular disease, kidney damage or nerve damage. Diabetics can also experience skin, mouth and bone problems that make the body look and feel older than it should

Pop

No, not the music - the drink. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people limit their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes. A 12-ounce can of regular pop has about 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates — the same amount of carbohydrates contained in 10 teaspoons of sugar. Energy and sports drinks are in the same boat, so at least read the labels to see how many carbs you are ingesting. And for the record, you don’t need a sports drink just because you spent four hours walking around the shops!

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May 01, 2013

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