Switching to the Mediterranean diet involves trying to match the eating habits of people in Greece, Italy, and surrounding regions. The diet focuses on reducing the intake of red meat and processed foods while increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and plant oils. Here are a few reasons to try the Mediterranean diet in the senior years.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
When seniors are eating the Mediterranean diet, it’s easier to avoid obesity. The diet mostly consists of low-calorie foods like lean protein and vegetables, so people can get full without putting on weight. Seniors who are underweight can also benefit from the Mediterranean diet because it lets them add olive oil and other sources of healthy fat as needed.
Some seniors need help preparing nutritious meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Columbia seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
2. Lower Alzheimer’s Risk
Seniors at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from all the heart-healthy features of the Mediterranean diet. A 2013 study at the University of Cambridge found that seniors who ate the Mediterranean diet had low chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and those who did develop this medical condition didn’t experience cognitive decline as quickly as others. The diet seems to reduce Alzheimer’s risk because of its protective effect on the blood vessels in the brain.
3. Reduce Cancer Risk
The Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of certain types of cancer, according to a 2017 study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The diet contains high levels of fiber and antioxidants that can reduce the risks of gastric and esophageal cancer. Following the Mediterranean diet encourages seniors to cut out certain foods like red meat that are linked to higher cancer risks.
Cancer is just one of the many health issues that could affect a senior’s overall quality of life. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional home care service. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.
4. Boost Cardiovascular Health
One of the most important benefits of the Mediterranean diet is that it keeps the cardiovascular system healthy. The diet contains plenty of fiber, antioxidant-rich foods, and healthy unsaturated fats. These nutrients contribute to lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol, so seniors are less likely to develop blood clots and other issues. The end result includes lower chances of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular conditions.
5. Prevent Diabetes Complications
According to a 2014 study published in the Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental journal, eating the Mediterranean diet significantly lowers a senior’s chances of getting diabetes. The diet helps older adults prevent diabetes by encouraging them to eat plenty of fiber and avoid fatty and sugary foods. Switching to the Mediterranean diet can help seniors maintain blood glucose and prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
Aging can make it difficult for seniors to make healthy lifestyle choices such as switching to the Mediterranean diet. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of elder Home Care. Columbia Assisting Hands Home Care provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (443) 312-2111 today.