The right diet is one of many factors needed to enjoy good health in the senior years. Many foods provide vital nutrients that benefit the body in a variety of ways. However, there are foods that also have the ability to degrade health by increasing the risk of developing hypertension, which leads to cardiac issues and damage to other organ systems. Here are a few foods that raise the risk of hypertension in the elderly.
1. Bottled or Canned Tomato Products
Bottled tomato juice or canned sauces and tomatoes are notoriously high in salt content. Some sauces contain 400 milligrams of sodium in a single ½-cup serving. Look for brands that are low in sodium or sodium free. Tomatoes by themselves are heart healthy because of the vitamin C and lycopene they provide. Seniors should consider using fresh tomatoes as an alternative to processed varieties.
2. Canned Soups
Many older adults eat condensed canned soups. They’re traditionally served as comfort food on frigid winter nights or when someone is feeling under the weather. In a pinch, canned soup makes for a quick and easy meal. Various types also serve as ingredients in different casseroles and dishes. However, the soups are prepared and preserved using high amounts of salt. Seniors can do themselves a favor by reading the labels. There are canned soups that claim to have low sodium content. Homemade soups are another alternative.
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The caffeine in coffee is a natural stimulant that raises blood pressure and heart rate. The effects are prolonged depending on the number of cups an older adult drinks. Decaffeinated versions are available. Drinking herbal tea is another option. Even traditional teas contain lower caffeine levels compared to coffee.
Pickled cucumbers are prepared using a salty brine. One or two slices of pickle on a sandwich or hamburger may not be cause for alarm. However, one dill pickle spear may harbor as much as 300 milligrams of sodium. Find low-sodium varieties or stick with raw cucumbers. Salt leads to fluid retention in many older adults, which puts added pressure on blood vessels, inside and out.
5. Poultry Skin
Many people consume the crispy skin on fried or roasted birds. However, the skin on chicken, duck, turkey, and other poultry is high in saturated and trans fats along with hydrogenated oils that contribute to elevated LDL cholesterol levels. In time, LDL cholesterol forms plaques in blood vessels anywhere in the body, which impedes blood flow and may contribute to hypertension, heart attack, and stroke. When purchasing raw poultry, consider removing the skin prior to cooking.
6. Processed Meats
Processed meats are traditionally created and cured with high levels of sodium. Bacon, deli meats, ham, and sausage are all suspect and have the potential to raise blood pressure. Unless cooked, processed meats may also contain bacteria that prove harmful, as seniors often have less efficient immune systems.
A trained professional caregiver with expertise in nutrition can be a wonderful source of information and support for seniors who want to adopt healthier habits, including eating foods that carry a lower risk for hypertension. For high-quality, compassionate senior home care, San Diego families trust Coast Care Partners to help their aging loved ones make healthy lifestyle choices that increase longevity. Call us today at 619-354-2544 to learn more about our flexible home care plans.