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The Risks for Seniors Who Eat Too Much Red Meat

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Seniors who consume too much red meat put themselves at risk for a wide array of serious health complications. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly care in Prescott, has put together a list of the risks your senior loved one faces if red meat is a major part of his or her diet.

E. Coli

E. coli is a bacterium found in unpasteurized milk, unpasteurized apple cider, and meat. The threat of E. coli is greatest in ground beef. In humans, E. coli can cause abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and kidney failure. This bacterium is particularly dangerous for seniors because they may have compromised immune systems and are at greater risk for dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea.

Diabetes

It may be red meat, not sweets, putting your loved one at risk for diabetes. Diets containing large amounts of animal products, including red meat, can lead to obesity, which is a leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes. As little as 3 extra servings of red meat a week can increase your loved one’s risk of diabetes by 50 percent.

Heart Disease

Red meat contains a compound called carnitine. Microbes in the gastrointestinal tract turn carnitine into trimethylamine-N-oxide during the digestive process. This substance can cause a buildup of plaque and hardening of the arteries, which increases your loved one’s risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Alzheimer’s

Red meat is rich in iron. While iron is necessary for preventing conditions like anemia, too much of it can be dangerous. Researchers at UCLA are suggesting iron accumulation in the brain is a possible cause of Alzheimer’s disease. They studied the brains of 31 people with Alzheimer’s and found the portions of the brain affected by the disease also had high accumulations of iron in the tissue.

Cancer

Eating red meat may increase your loved one’s risk of certain types of cancer. A study of nearly 150,000 seniors showed those who ate large amounts of red meat had the highest risk of colorectal cancer. The study also revealed those who ate primarily fish and poultry actually lowered their risk.

To learn more about senior nutrition and preventing serious health conditions, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to prepare healthy meals, help with regular exercise, and assist with many other important daily tasks. We also offer specialized Parkinson’s, stroke, and Alzheimer’s care for Prescott seniors who need more extensive assistance. For more information on how our in-home care services can promote your loved one’s quality of life, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 928-771-0105 to schedule a free consultation.