Cut Out These Edible Offenders for Improved Health

It seems like every time you turn around, doctors or nutritionists are advising you to eat this or that so you can boost your overall well-being. If you examine the long list of super foods that you are supposed to consume, you may find it virtually impossible to cram all these items into your daily dietary regimen. With that said, you could still be inspired by this time of year – National Nutrition Month – and want to make some changes. You and your fellow senior living community members can make a pact to avoid these five nutritional offenders and take tiny steps toward improving your health:

1. Processed meats

Sure, enjoying a hot dog complete with mustard and relish during a day at the ballpark is a great treat, and you should not regret indulging in that experience once in a blue moon. However, you may want to make a conscious effort to steer clear of consuming processed meats on a regular basis.

According to WebMD, items such as deli cold cuts and sausages are full of sodium and preservatives, such as nitrites, making them bad for you even if they are of the reduced fat variety. Going overboard with cured, salted or smoked meats could increase your blood pressure, in addition to upping your risk of stroke and heart disease. On top of this, the chemical agents used to preserve these products could lead to a greater chances of developing cancer.

Next time, reach for roasted turkey or beef that you prepared yourself. You can even slice it and stick it into a sandwich, making for a healthier and tastier alternative.

2. Bagels

These convenient breakfast and brunch favorites are one of the worst bread items that you can consume. They are packed with carbs and calories, which can have negative effects on your body.

“Bagels have a massively high glycemic index, which increases insulin and leads to increased inflammation in the body,” Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co​-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery told Fitness Magazine.

Not only will this speed up aging, but it could also lead to trouble with diabetes, as your blood sugar levels spike and crash from the massive carb intake. Grab a smaller substitute like a piece of whole-wheat toast, adding some almond butter for a protein boost that will stick with you the rest of the day.

3. Soda

There is nothing healthy about soda – plain and simple. While this fizzy stuff may taste good, it is loaded with sugar and chemicals. At the same time, it bears no nutritional value that could make up for all the cons. Even if you grab a diet beverage, the artificial sweeteners like aspartame are just as bad, if not worse for your health.

Stick with water for hydration. If you want to mix it up, going with sparkling or club soda, squeezing in some lime juice to make it especially refreshing.

4. Solid margarine

Products made of animal fat, such as butter, are known to take a toll on your heart health. Out of all the offenders, though, stick margarine is the worst. It is almost entirely trans fat, which drives your cholesterol and can lead to build up or even hardening in your arteries.

If you need to cook or bake with some sort of fat, then use butter – but just a touch of it. You also can do little wrong with oils that contain so-called “good fats,” such as olive and canola.

5. Jarred sauce

If you are trying to prepare something for yourself or the rest of your senior living community in a pinch, you may head to the pantry for a jar of pasta sauce – or any other type, for that matter. But did you know that these are loaded with sugar and sodium? You should be careful not to incorporate it into your weekly meals too frequently. Instead, make a big batch of your own and then stick some in the freezer.