We get it — adjusting your eating habits as you get older can be really hard. But when it comes to losing weight and keeping your body as healthy as possible, there’s really no other choice than to starting cutting foods out of your daily diet. Not entirely sure which foods you should start avoiding or limiting in order to keep yourself fit and healthy? That’s where we come in. Some of these foods may even surprise you! (Bet you never knew you’d have to avoid the food on Page 10.)
This may come as a surprise — how can a vegetable like delicious dills be bad for you? As Today’s Joy Bauer explains, one pickle is loaded with over 1,000 milligrams of sodium. With high blood pressure being a health concern as we get older, cutting down on foods that can raise your blood pressure is key. (This isn’t the only salt-filled food on our list, either.)
Next: Too much of this food can cause problems if you’re in your 50s.
This is one food you surely need to cut down on, especially if it’s cut into fries or sprinkled with bacon bits. (More on bacon a little later.) “Potatoes really are starchy,” TIME explains, “and they land high on the glycemic index—right up there with rice cakes and pretzels.” And when you add all the extras to it, you get a dish that expands your waistline and raises your insulin levels. If you absolutely must have a potato — they do contain vitamins — eat them as bare as possible.
Next: Here’s the worst way to start your day.
We will not tell you to cut out sweets all together. (Who would ever listen to advice like that anyways?) But you should definitely limit your sugar intake if you want to keep your weight down — and definitely avoid pastries at breakfast. Bauer tells Today that the late morning sugar crash caused by breakfast pastries affects your blood sugar levels and causes you to crave unhealthier foods throughout the rest of your day.
Next: Too much of this food puts you at risk for diseases.
Let’s be honest — butter isn’t good for you in large quantities no matter what age you are. But it’s more imperative to cut back on it as you age. In fact, cutting back on saturated fats in general — like whole milk and cheese — can greatly lower your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. While a little butter won’t kill you, swapping it out for healthier fats like olive oil or nuts is a much better option.
Next: Your body’s reaction to this beverage may change in your 50s.
Too much wine
But red wine is good for you, right? Well, that only counts if you drink it in moderation as prescribed by the Mediterranean diet. As Bauer tells Today, having multiple glasses in one sitting can undo its positive properties because it inundates your organs. Plus, the sugar in wine can interrupt sleep patterns as you get older, leaving you tossing and turning at all hours because you had just one more glass.
Next: If this is in your fridge, you should get rid of it. Stat.
Time to rethink that weekend sandwich run. Or, at least what you are putting into the sandwich. Your favorite go-to deli meats are pumped with sodium and fat, WebMD explains, plus chemical preservative that raise your risk for certain cancers. Go for a lean meat option in your sandwiches — like skinless chicken — and pack on the veggies.
Next: But, while we’re on the subject of veggies…
Steam bag frozen vegetables
This may be your go-to, quick-and-easy fix for getting vegetables into your diet. But this option isn’t as healthy as you think. As Livestrong tells us, pre-packaged veggie options contain added ingredients like creams, sauces, and salt, which take away some of the health benefits. Being mindful of what’s in your frozen vegetables can go a long way to keeping you fit, and healthier.
Next: A guilty pleasure food that has connections to obesity.
Deep dish pizza
Pizza is one of those unhealthy foods that we haven’t been able to get enough of since we were kids. Even though we know all the dough, cheese, and salty toppings are terrible for us. And as we get older, of course, those components ruin our waistlines and can contribute to long-term fight with obesity. To keep your body in check without giving up a slice of pie, steer of deep dish options. (All that bread is doing you no favors.) Opt for thin crust, less cheese, and load up on veggie toppings.
Next: A food you should completely avoid — as delicious as it is.
This is kind of a no-brainer. You shouldn’t be eating bacon on a regular basis no matter what age you are. But of course, all that bad fats and salt packed into those strips are even worse once you reach a certain age because it greatly raises your risk of heart disease and stroke. While a nibble on a rare occasion probably won’t kill you, it’s better to just stay away from bacon all together.
Next: This next one may surprise you.
That’s right — those delectable little fruits should be limited in your diet as you get into your 50s and beyond. Despite their anti-inflammatory properties and loads of antioxidants, cherries are also packed with sugar. (And if your blood sugar is an issue, these are a big no-no.) Plus, eating too many cherries can cause upset stomach, nausea, and bloating. You can enjoy a few cherries here and there, but it’s best not to go overboard.
Next: Let’s get back to this topic real quick…
Remember when we suggested swapping out your deli meats for skinless chicken? Really, you should be trying your best to always eat your chicken without the skin. While it makes the meat juicier, the skin is also loaded with a ton of fat, which can throw your cholesterol out of whack and add to your midsection.
Next: When it comes to everyone’s favorite dinner side…
It may seem like a meal isn’t complete without a side of bread. But having those rolls on the side are only going to add rolls to your waistline, especially as you get older. Plus, like with breakfast pastries, the carbohydrates in dinner rolls will make your blood pressure spike and then abruptly crash — leaving you hungry again, even after a large meal. (Especially if the rolls are made from white bread.)
Next: A bit of a no-brainer, but it must be mentioned.
Breaking a soda habit can be tough. But it’s crucial to your health the older you get, especially if you’re a diabetic. “This sugar rush,” Bauer says,” sends your blood sugar into a tailspin, and then you get an insulin surge and that promotes inflammation.” Unlike some foods on this list that can at least be eaten on a rare occasion, soda should be avoided at all costs.
Next: Another surprising fruit to avoid.
Here we have another fruit that you may think is too healthy to ever be bad for you. So what makes grapes a food to eat less of once you’re in your 50s? Like with cherries, the carbohydrate and sugar content is high and can make weight loss difficult. Take a cue from Livestrong and limit this fruit.
Next: A food to avoid like the plague.
Once a potato becomes a potato chip, any and all nutritional value basically vanishes. You’re left with an empty, processed starch covered in blood pressure raising salt, which you’re no doubt going to over eat and gain weight from. Even if you’re at a social event and don’t snack very often, you’re better off skipping this snack and heading right for the veggie platter.
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