We all know that a healthy diet is important to our happiness and well-being. And, most of us will be aware that junk foods or fast foods do not constitute healthy consumption. But, increasingly, we lead hectic lives and have insufficient time to prepare a properly cooked meal. If you are familiar with the old adage “You are what you Eat”, you will understand the need to identify the foods to avoid if we value our health.

Processed foods

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Artificial Sweeteners

When we consider how ultra-processed foods are made, it is no wonder they do not resemble real food and lack nutritional value. Rather than coming from nature as whole foods typically do, ultra-processed foods rely on a series of artificial ingredients and chemicals to bring together flavourings and preservatives that are bad for our health.

The unhealthy fats, refined carbohydrates, salt, sugar and chemical additives that fill these products have been clinically proven time and time again to be major contributors to an array of medical issues such as an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Eating heavily processed foods can take away from the nutrient-rich benefits that come from eating a balanced diet consisting of natural ingredients. In some cases, processed foods have even been linked to serious long-term health problems such as obesity and coronary heart disease.

The health benefits that come from a wholesome diet are immense. Whole foods that have no added sugar may have a few extra calories but, nutrient-dense vegetables that reduce our sodium intake can provide vitality and extend our longevity in ways that fast foods with excess sugar never can.

Keywords

Processed food, foods to avoid, artificial sweeteners, diet soda

The Worst Foods to Eat

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Breakfast Cereal

The foods to really avoid contain artificial flavours, refined carbs and sugary drinks. You should always read the food labels before you toss your shopping items into your basket.

No matter how tempting they may seem to be, avoid:

  • Bacon
  • Bakery Items
  • Cakes
  • Fried Foods
  • Frozen Meals
  • Pastries
  • Processed Meats
  • Sausages
  • Sodas

These foods are all high in calories and low in nutrition.

Top Foods to Avoid after 50

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Buttered Popcorn

The number one food to avoid is supermarket cooking oil. Despite years of advertising to the contrary most supermarket cooking oils are highly processed vegetable oils containing high levels of hydrogenated oils containing very unhealthy trans fats.

However, olive oil is a rare exception. Extra virgin olive oil is very healthy even though it tends to be more expensive. Olive Oil is a key component of the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet.

The Mediterranean Diet uses healthy fat to avoid high blood pressure and should be incorporated into your healthy habits to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Many people pay attention to the food they eat throughout their lives, but it’s especially important for those of us in our fifties to pay special attention. As we get older, many bodily functions begin to slow down, which can mean that things like sodium and fat can have a greater effect on our health than when we were in our twenties or thirties.

Artificial Sweeteners

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Canned Fruit

We have been assaulted with advertising from the food industry about the slimming attributes of artificial sweeteners. However, research has suggested that far from being slimming, some artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, can because of the way our bodies react to them, cause weight gain.

Artificial sweeteners do nothing to balance your blood sugar, whereas natural sweeteners can replace more sugar in your diet without upsetting your blood balance.

When it comes to reducing sugar intake, many health-conscious individuals are turning to artificial sweeteners as an alternative. Artificial sweeteners, also known as low or no-calorie sweeteners, come with a variety of options and it can be difficult to choose the healthiest one.

The best artificial sweeteners for general use are those that have been deemed safe by regulatory boards such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners: saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and neotame.

Although more studies need to be conducted to definitively determine the health risks associated with each of these ingredients, they remain popular substitutes for sugar due to their intense sweetness and comparatively low caloric content.

So, despite claims of low calories, artificial sweeteners are, definitely, foods to avoid.

Foods to Avoid Processed Meats

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Fresh Strawberries

For those of us above a certain age, SPAM or spiced ham is the ubiquitous processed meat many of us grew up with. It was tasty, up to a point, it made a good sandwich but, you knew you couldn’t eat a lot of it. Too much SPAM made you feel sick. However, it was cheap and came in tin cans so it stayed fresh for a long time.

Not all processed meats to be avoided come in tin cans, Salami and chorizo from the deli counter might be high-end deli meats but they are loaded with sodium or salt, are high in processed sugars and are full of saturated fats.

DIET SODA

A diet soda might be calorie-free but it will, almost certainly, contain added chemicals. the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda can trigger insulin production. This causes the body to get into a fat-storage mode which may, ironically, cause weight gain.

Fried foods

Never eat french fries sprinkled liberally with table salt no matter how much they taste good. The french fries have been languishing in a bath of saturated fat and the salt is a source of unhealthy sodium.

Mr Kipling does make exceedingly good cakes but, they are not exceedingly healthy! Mass-produced cakes often use vegetable shortening to make them light and fluffy.

However, vegetable shortening contains hydrogenated oils which are artificial fats that have an added hydrogen molecule to solidify them at room temperature.

Hydrogenated oils are favoured by food manufacturers because they increase the shelf life of their products at the cost of lowering our life expectancy.

Consuming hydrogenated oils too regularly can increase LDL (Bad cholesterol) while also lowering HDL (good cholesterol) increasing your risk of heart disease.

You would be better off replacing the hydrogenated oils with real butter.

Foods to Avoid Weight Gain

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Glasses of Soda

A nice bowl of Scotch Broth or Fish Chowder may be a very slimming lunch. But canned soup is notoriously high in artificial colors and packed with added sugars.

You are being very health conscious if you choose to eat fruit. Fresh fruit is most assuredly good but, go easy on canned fruit as this nearly always has the fruit canned with a thick high fructose corn syrup. Another one of the foods to avoid.

Diet drinks are very fashionable at the moment. But diet drinks like diet soda or diet coke are packed with artificial sweeteners which can be worse than refined sugar in your diet.

Aspartame is a key component in many diet drinks and has been linked to cancer and gastrointestinal problems.

Weight loss can be driven by eating healthier foods that are also nutrient-rich. Supergreens like kale and spinach provide major nutrition but have extremely low calories.

In addition, if you’re looking to reduce overall caloric intake, fish is a great choice because of its high-quality proteins and essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Beans are another nutritional powerhouse packed with protein, fibre, and vitamins. They keep you fuller longer which reduces cravings and provides sustained energy.

Fresh fruits such as apples and oranges contain natural sugars to curb sweet tooths but are also filled with vitamins. These superfoods won’t only help reach weight loss goals; they’ll provide any diet with the nourishment it needs to thrive!

Healthy Foods to Eat Everyday

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Homemade Pizza

Fish is a great food for the health-conscious diner but even this super-healthy food is not without risk.

Fish comes from the sea and sadly our seas and oceans are becoming polluted with heavy metals like lead and mercury. These toxic metals are ingested by fish and in turn by humans when we eat the fish.

On the positive side, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are super important for your brain health. Yes, there is some truth in the old adage that fish is brain food.

Fish is considered to be brain food because it is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins, namely omega-3s. Omega-3s are important for proper brain function as well as cognitive development as they help promote healthy nerve cell membranes that act as pathways for messages between the neurons of our brains.

Fish also serves as a great source of vitamin D, an important nutrient linked to improved concentration, clarity of thought, and memory retention.

By including fish regularly in your diet, you can not only get an adequate balance of cholesterol but also prevent any neurological deficits from forming later in life due to a lack of nutrients like omega-3s and vitamin D.

Healthiest Food

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Hot Dogs

For truly healthy eating habits, serve your grille fish with leafy greens like broccoli or spinach.

Fish is one of the healthiest foods on the planet because:

IMPORTANT NUTRIENTS

Fish includes high-quality protein, iodine and a number of vitamins and minerals. Fatty fish like salmon, trout, sardines and tuna have the highest fat-based nutrients.

REDUCE THE RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

Fish is thought to be one of the most heart-healthy foods you can choose.

It is no surprise that observational studies have shown that people who regularly eat fish have a reduced risk of suffering heart attacks, stroke and death from heart disease.

Researchers believe that the high omega-3 fatty acid content of fatty fish makes eating fish beneficial for heart health.

ESSENTIAL DEVELOPMENT NUTRITION

Omega-3 fatty acids are very important in the growth and development of babies and infants.

Therefore, pregnant and breastfeeding women are recommended to eat plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.

The omega-3 fat docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is particularly important to brain and eye development.

However, mercury has been linked to brain development problems so, pregnant women ought to be careful to choose low-mercury fish like salmon, sardines or trout.

BOOST BRAIN HEALTH

Brain function can decline as we age or if we have a health condition like multiple sclerosis.

Observational studies have shown that the consumption of fish can slow any mental decline.

Furthermore, other studies have shown that people who eat fish weekly, have more grey matter and an increased brain volume.

PREVENT DEPRESSION

Depression is characterised by low mood, sadness and reduced energy. Not to mention a general disinterest in life.

The omega-3 fatty acids you get from eating fish can fight depression and improve the efficacy of the antidepressant medication.

Low-fat peanut butter

Nut butter contains healthy unsaturated fats and is normally a very good source of protein and vitamins.

However, low-fat peanut butter is paradoxically bad because as you remove the level of heart-healthy fats you are adding unhealthy added sugars and filler ingredients.

Check the food labels. As a general rule of thumb, peanut butter should have only three ingredients: peanut, oil and a little salt.

Additionally, peanuts are NOT nuts. they are legumes. That said, the nut butters from peanuts are healthy foods.

If you wish to find healthy fat, look to real nuts like almonds or walnuts.

PRETZELS

Possibly the ultimate in bad food! Sure, Pretzels are low in calories but, they also have no fibre, no protein and no healthy fat. In short, pretzels have no health benefits whatsoever.

If you feel the need for a late-night snack, grab a handful of nuts. Data has shown that foods that are high-fibre wholegrains are linked with a reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Fruit and Vegetable

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Peanut Butter

In general, fruits and vegetables should always be top of the list of our shopping lists. But, as always, there is a caveat. Strawberries are delicious and packed with goodness. Humans love to eat strawberries but, unfortunately, birds and bugs are also very partial to strawberries.

This is why they feature in the dirty dozen of the Environmental Working Group because they are heavily contaminated with pesticides when grown by conventional farming methods.

Many people are aware of the dietary benefits that come from incorporating fruits and vegetables into their diets. What some may not realize is just how vital these food items can be for providing essential vitamins and minerals in an efficient, low-calorie way.

Fruits and vegetables contain a range of antioxidants, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals, which are all important nutrients that are necessary to stay healthy.

Furthermore, adding the right mix of fruits and vegetables or juicing them can be a great way to improve your digestive system and boost overall health. With the right balance of these food items available every day in many forms, it’s easy to include them in your diet and make sure you will remain strong and energized!

Healthy Fats

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Pouring Cream

When we think about fat we most commonly associate it with weight gain. And sure, a lot of the fats we come across are bad fats that when eaten too often can cause coronary heart disease or other life-limiting health conditions.

But, there are good fats. Indeed some fats are essential fats that our bodies cannot function properly without.

Essential fats are lipids that are needed for the healthy functioning of our bodies yet cannot be synthesized by our bodies. They must be obtained through the foods we consume or other methods such as supplements. An understanding of essential fats is significant because it has a major impact on how well the body works, from energy levels to mood and cognition.

Essential fats are one of the most important macronutrients that the body needs to survive and function properly. They are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid found in a variety of foods and must be consumed as part of a regular diet. Essential fats provide many benefits helping to regulate hormones, ensure cell functions and even help maintain energy levels throughout the day.

High-sodium instant meals (think frozen pizza) Foods to Avoid

Many packaged foods are high in salt content and may also contain monosodium glutamate which is a flavour enhancer found in many oriental takeaway meals.

“A little of what you fancy does you no harm” is a saying that is probably quite misleading. Because certain foods may taste good but are most certainly harmful. Think hotdogs and doughnuts which are both foods that could not possibly be thought of as healthy.

Cured Meats (Salami and Chorizo) Foods to Avoid

We do support the Mediterranean style of eating. The Mediterranean Diet of fish and wholesome vegetables is hard to beat. Adding olive oil to your diet is one of the most heart-healthy things you can do.

However, both Salami and Chorizo are delicious cold meats. But. they are processed meats, packed with artificial colors and added sugar that can contribute to coronary heart disease.

The cured meats are high in saturated fats and sodium nitrites, which can turn into harmful inflammatory compounds that have been linked to hypertension and heart disease.

HOT DOGS

Hot Dogs are little parcels of bad health. They are processed meats packed with artificial colours and salts. They will be laced with brightly coloured mustard also full of artificial colour.

Foods to Avoid when Adjusting to Old Age

Ageing is something that comes to everybody. Our vision weakens and we may succumb to liver disease or kidney disease and it becomes more important than ever to eat good food.

On a positive note. the older we get, the less likely we are to hanker after greasy fried foods. Perhaps that is our in-built self-preservation kicking in.

As well as a distaste for fried foods, we will choose to eat less refined sugar and saturated fat.

I know that I would much prefer the lean proteins of a nice steak served with leafy greens over a stodgy frozen pizza. Foods become much more important when you realise the potential harm of eating low-energy food.

The older we get, the more we value our health and limit our refined carbs. We also begin to recognise which foods to avoid to maintain good health.

How to Balance Your Diet

Balancing your diet is essential for optimal health. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), Americans should strive for a balanced diet complete with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. To stay successful in this journey.

ConscienHealth’s randomized controlled trial found that eating controlled portions of each food group – from fries to almonds – over 30 days can help create equilibrium in fat mass and glucose control. Although some meats are high in calories and saturated fats such as bacon, sausages and deli meats.

it is important to note that these foods also contain large quantities of sodium, nitrates and nitrites – all of which can lead to several health conditions – so it is best to stay away from highly processed meats with preservatives. Making mindful food choices will ensure a balanced diet for any person striving for optimal health.

In summary, knowing which foods to avoid is equally important to knowing which foods to eat.

REFERENCES

AARP
Today
Prevention
Newsweek
Make it: CNBC

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