Meta: Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets that help fight against many diseases. Let us look at the benefits of Mediterranean diet for seniors.
When people think of Mediterranean food, they may have thought about pasta and pizza from Italy or Dolmades and Moussaka from Greece. But these are not healthy foods to have. In reality, a Mediterranean diet is related to the region’s traditional fruits, veggies, oil, dairy, nuts, and beans.
A Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets that help fight against chronic diseases related to heart, diabetes, and cancer. As an older adult, if you want to live a long life, one of the easiest ways is to make a switch to a Mediterranean diet today. This diet is rich in nutrients and helps lower the risk of mortality.
A Mediterranean diet means different things in different cultures, so the ingredients included in the diet may vary from region to region. In this article, we will look at the benefits of a Mediterranean diet for seniors:
- Health Benefits Of Mediterranean Diet For Seniors
- Can a Mediterranean diet prevent Alzheimer’s?
- Can a Mediterranean diet help fight cancer?
- How can a person make a change in having a healthy lifestyle?
What Is A Mediterranean Diet?
Usually, a typical American diet includes a lot of sugar, fats, and salt, and these are the most unhealthy combinations that lead to health risks and weight gain.
A Mediterranean diet is rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins, and it tastes more delicious than any other diet.
Having a Mediterranean diet is all about eating fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats and fish. A Mediterranean diet helps support a healthy heart and is excellent for seniors’ overall health.
In general, it includes:
- A variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
- Dairy consumption in moderation.
- Red wine in moderation.
Health Benefits Of Mediterranean Diet For Seniors
Making changes in your diet may not be easy. But to stay healthy and active, you should start following a Mediterranean diet. It offers a lot of health benefits for people of all ages. It would help if you made some effort to switch to fresh vegetables and fruits from pasta and pizza, but it will lead you to the path of a longer and healthier life.
#1 Mediterranean Diet Helps Prevent Heart Disease
Following a Mediterranean diet helps lower the risk of heart diseases and inflammation. The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 28%. This diet includes fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, and other dairy products in moderation.
This is an ideal nutritional intake for cardiovascular health. Many studies suggest that having Mediterranean meals rich in fats, fish, nuts, and some wine helps protect a person from any heart-related diseases.
You should also take monounsaturated fats that include olive oil instead of polyunsaturated fats like butter, which the body does not break down easily.
However, if you have a diet rich in saturated fat and salt and have fewer fruits and vegetables, adding olive oil to your diet won’t help with the change. But if you adjust your diet, that makes you eat less meat and more fish and replace saturated fats with olive oil, and rapeseed can make a huge difference.
#2 Mediterranean Diet Lowers The Risk Of Stroke In Elderly
Growing old and being a woman are the significant factors for stroke, which a person cannot control. But following a healthy diet plan will help reduce the risk of any disease. The Mediterranean diet helps lower the risk of stroke, mainly among women.
It was found that women who followed a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of stroke by 20%. However, it is unclear why there is such a difference in risk factors among men and women. The diet components may influence men and women differently.
#3 Mediterranean Diet Helps Lose Weight
A Mediterranean diet mainly includes whole, fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, and it helps lose weight. It limits the intake of sugar and processed components that have high calories. Following this diet does not only help to reduce weight but also improves heart health and balances blood sugar well.
#4 Prevents Inflammation
Acute inflammation improves the immune system and protects against any infection. At the same time, chronic inflammation leads to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Following a Mediterranean diet helps reduce inflammation levels and prevent further illness.
#5 Following Mediterranean Diet Helps Manage Type 2 Diabetes
People who follow a Mediterranean diet have around 83% lower risk of diabetes. Also, having a Mediterranean diet without any calorie restriction is very effective in preventing diabetes for people with high cardiovascular risk. Further, this diet helps regulate the blood sugar level and improves the insulin intake in the body.
#6 Mediterranean Diet Helps People With Rheumatoid Arthritis
What you eat helps you manage arthritis pain. A healthy meal like a Mediterranean diet helps reduce inflammation and arthritis symptoms. A Mediterranean diet includes all fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. These have natural ingredients and chemicals that help balance the inflammation level in the body.
A Mediterranean diet includes an intake of olive oil instead of butter, which helps lower the levels of chemical intake that lead to inflammations. Thus, it is suitable for people with arthritis, and following a healthy diet helps improve inflammation levels and improve joint pain.
#7 It Helps Improve Quality of Sleep
The Mediterranean diet affects sleep quality in older adults. Fiber-rich foods help improve the overall sleep quality and reduce sleep disturbances in older adults. This type of diet is rich in nutrients and has omega-3 fatty acids, and this helps reduce the symptoms of depression and protects against sleep loss.
#8 Keeps You Agile
A Mediterranean diet is rich in nutrients and helps reduce muscle weakness and frailty. It benefits older adults and keeps them healthy and strong.
Can Mediterranean Diet Prevent Alzheimer’s?
As people age, they may have Alzheimer’s disease. It is one of the most common types of dementia. Around 5 million Americans suffer from this disease.
By having a healthy lifestyle, you can protect yourself from Alzheimer’s to a certain extent. It was found that people who followed the Mediterranean diet had a better memory than people who did not follow.
Following a Mediterranean diet helps boost the brain and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. As per some research, people who include fruits, vegetables, and unsaturated fats help cleanse the brain and prevent the building up of protein that leads to dementia and memory loss.
Can Mediterranean Diet Help Fight Cancer?
The Mediterranean diet is considered the best diet to fight against cancer. This is mainly due to the intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in their diet. Having a portion of calories that comes from olive helps reduce the risk of cancer.
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and nutrients helps reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. The Mediterranean diet also includes fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, and it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Overall, following a Mediterranean diet helps fight against different types of cancers and heart-related diseases.
How Can I Change My Diet To Match a Mediterranean Diet?
Following a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean helps seniors have a healthier and longer life. It protects people from certain diseases and improves their immune systems. It is one of the great ways to lose weight and prevent you from gaining weight if you do regular exercise such as walking or stretching.
If you want to have a healthy lifestyle and change your eating habits, you need to plan a healthy Mediterranean diet. Let us look at some suggestions for you to get started with.
Look For Fiber-Rich Foods
Seniors should have more fiber-rich foods as it helps maintain their digestive system. Instead of having supplements and pills, they can have fruits, vegetables, peanuts, and beans, and they are a great source of fiber. These foods consist of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that help better digestion.
Include Vegetables In Your Diet
You can start by having tomatoes sauteed lightly in olive oil and adding some feta cheese. You can also have a thin crust pizza and add peppers and mushrooms instead of pepperoni and sausage. Having salad and soups is also a great way to add vegetables to your diet.
Always Make A Habit Of Having Breakfast
It is a must to have your breakfast, add fruits, whole grains, and fiber-rich foods, and start your day, and it helps keep you full for a long time.
Include Seafood In Your Diet
Make a habit of including fish such as salmon, tuna, and herring in your diet at least twice a week. You can add sardines rich in omega-3 fatty acids as it helps protect you from brain and heart diseases. Some types of fish help fight inflammation and reduce swelling and pain.
Have A Vegetarian Meal Once A Week
You can skip having meat at least once a week and have a vegetarian meal. You can have beans, vegetables, and whole grains once or twice in your meal, and you can add meat as a side dish and not the main meal.
Adding Nuts And Seeds To Your Diet
You can have 1.5 ounces of nuts daily. People who consume nuts have a lower risk of developing any inflammatory disease like arthritis than those who do not have nuts.
Look For Calcium Rich Products
Consuming calcium-rich products help prevent the risk of developing osteoporosis. It includes ingredients like beans, dairy products, and spinach. Having yogurt is also a great option as it is rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Including whole grains in your diet helps improve the sleep quality in older adults. You can include brown rice, couscous, quinoa, and bulgur wheat in your diet, as it is an excellent source of carbs that a body needs.
Myths About Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has a lot of health benefits, but there are misconceptions that cause people to shy away from it.
It Costs A Lot
In reality, the Mediterranean diet is less expensive than processed and packaged food products. It mainly includes beans and lentils as a source of protein intake, and this diest sticks mainly to fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Mediterranean Diet Means Having Large Portions Of Pasta And Bread
Usually, the Mediterranean doesn’t have large portions of pasta like Americans, and pasta is just the side dish, and the rest of the meal consists of vegetables, salads, fish, and meat.
Mediterranean Diet Required You To Avoid Consuming Alcohol
Unlike other diet plans, the Mediterranean diet allows you to have alcohol in moderation. There is no rule as to which alcohol to consume, but it is recommended to have red wine as it has certain health benefits.
Always Consult Your Dietitian Or Doctor
It is better to consult your doctor before making any dietary changes. Make sure the new diet you follow is suitable for your personal needs. Although a Mediterranean diet helps protect from heart diseases and inflammation. But it is better to consult your doctor first.
Enjoy Your Meal With Others
Having your meal with family and friends helps relieve stress and boost mood. When a person eats with others, it helps them prevent overeating and have a healthy weight.
Share Meals With Others And Have A Great Social Experience. If you stay alone, you can invite your friends over dinner and cook meals for them, and it helps develop networks and have a great social experience.
Have A Family Time. You can have meals with your family together and share the happenings. Having meals together comforts the kids and helps monitor their eating habits.
Mediterranean diets have a lot of health benefits, and it has gained popularity among people of all ages, especially seniors. It helps lower blood sugar levels, protect against chronic diseases, and helps maintain a healthy weight.
Switching from having pasta and pepperoni to fish and fiber-rich products may take some effort. But in the end, it is all about having a healthy and sustainable life.
Anyone who is not satisfied with this diet should talk with their dietitian, and they will be able to recommend some additional or alternative food options.
I hope you loved the content and were inspired to switch to a Mediterranean diet! If you have more questions that you would like answered, please put them in the comments box below. And as always, please post this piece on your social media handles so that others can also benefit from the advice given here.