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Senior Nutrition: Limit These 4 Foods as You Age and What to Eat Instead 

Denise Austin eating salad

By Denise Austin
40-Year Fitness Icon
Creator of Fit Over 50 Magazine

Hello, everyone! Food is the body’s natural fuel used to keep us going every day. However, many people don’t realize our dietary needs change as we age. Basically, you’ll need to eat more of some foods and less of others. So, if you’re looking for the right blend of fuel to put in your body, then let’s go over what foods seniors should avoid and what to eat instead.

Senior Nutrition Needs Change Over Time

I am often asked, “What is the MOST important food to eat?” When it comes to senior nutrition, our bodies call out to us for the foods that help increase longevity and energy and protect the immune system.

What to Limit: Caffeine and Alcohol

While many people love sipping on a cup of coffee in the morning and enjoying a nice cocktail in the evening, moderation is key. Caffeine can cause anxiety, jitters and an increase in heart rate. Alcohol can raise your blood pressure, affect your sleep and cause hypoglycemia in those with diabetes. It is recommended that those age 65 and older have no more than three drinks per day – and those taking certain medications have even fewer or cut alcohol completely.1

Have These Instead: Creative, Nonalcoholic Drinks, Tea, Water, Decaf

Have you considered a seltzer with a fresh lime? How about berries in ice water? If you’re looking to cut down on alcohol, it’s time to get creative with the drinks you have so you won’t feel deprived.2 Similarly, to reduce or eliminate your caffeine intake, try varying your choices with green tea, water or decaffeinated coffee.

What to Limit: High-Sodium Foods

When you eat a sodium-heavy diet, your body retains too much fluid, putting you at a higher risk for a stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg per day, with an ideal limit of 1,500 mg for most adults, particularly those with high blood pressure.3 High-sodium foods include lunch meats, salty snacks, and salad dressings.

Have These Instead: Potassium-Rich Foods

Foods rich in potassium include beans, nuts, leafy greens, dairy and starchy vegetables such as potatoes or winter squash. Dried fruits such as raisins and apricots are also excellent candidates, as are avocados and bananas. You can also try seasoning your food with herbs and spices rather than table salt and choosing low-sodium or reduced-sodium options.

What to Limit: Fried Foods

High in saturated and trans fats, fried foods can be a direct link to heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
In addition, they are calorie-rich, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Fried foods can also make you look older. When you fry food in hot oil, it releases free radicals – molecules that can cause your skin to lose elasticity. Additionally, the high salt content can promote wrinkles.

Have These Instead: Healthy Fats and Olive Oil

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Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, also known as healthy fats, can lower your risk of disease.
Foods with many healthy fats include fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. 

Olive oil, especially extra-virgin olive oil, is rich in monounsaturated fats, loaded with antioxidants, can help fight inflammation and can reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure.

What to Limit: Grapefruit

Yes, grapefruit! It’s surprising to find this on a list, but grapefruit juice can sometimes interact poorly with medications for high blood pressure, insomnia and anxiety.

Have These Instead: Whole Fruits and Fruit Juices

Orange juice, cranberry juice, and low-sodium tomato juice – when consumed in moderation – are healthier choices for seniors.
In addition, oranges and other citrus fruits offer Vitamin C, which produces antibodies that can give your immunity a boost and protect you from infections. 

Berries are another excellent fruit in the world of senior nutrition because these delicious fruits are loaded with fiber and antioxidants, which can help fight inflammation.

What’s Next?

Bring your kitchen to life with Ensurem’s new healthy recipes section specifically designed for people who want to eat better without sacrificing flavor.  

Make sure your Medicare insurance offers all the fitness benefits and healthy food allowances you’re eligible to receive. Benefits and plans may vary in your area.   

Denise Austin is a best-selling author and creator of Fit Over 50 magazine. A 40-year wellness ambassador, Austin has sold more than 24 million exercise videos and DVDs and a champion for people who aspire to live their best life, regardless of their age or current health conditions.

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1 “Drinking and Healthy Aging: Know Your Limits,” National Council on Aging (accessed 3/7/23)
2 “Tips to Reduce Your Drinking,” Cancer Council Victoria (accessed 3/7/23)
“Why Should I Limit Sodium?” American Heart Association (Accessed 3/7/23)


Denise Austin, 65, Ensurem Ambassador

Best-Selling Author, Creator of Fit Over 50 Magazine

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