Why the Mediterranean Diet Is Beneficial for Aging Adults

By Marvin, 9:00 am on

Following a study, the World Health Organization announced in 2002 that residents in four of the 20 countries evaluated had the longest life expectancy. The countries were located in the Mediterranean area, and scientists determined diet played a major role in the health and longevity of the people who lived there. The eating habits of the region became known as the Mediterranean diet. Encouraging senior loved ones to modify their daily intake to more closely resemble the Mediterranean diet can do much for their health and vitality and promote a higher quality of life. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Plano, TX, non-medical home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.

What Is the Mediterranean Diet?

The most common characteristics of the diet include:

  • Eating mainly fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains
  • Using canola oil instead of butter or margarine
  • Substituting herbs and spices for salt as flavoring
  • Reducing red meat intake to only a few times each month
  • Including fish and poultry in meals two or more times each week
  • Dining with family and friends
  • Engaging in plenty of physical activity

Some older adults need assistance and encouragement to maintain a healthy diet. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in home care, Plano Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

Offers Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Arthritis and cardiovascular disease are two medical conditions that develop or progress when adults have inflammation. The antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in olive oil, sardines, and tuna interfere with the processes that cause inflammation. As little as two tablespoons of olive oil in a daily diet reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by up to 10 percent.

Provides Plenty of Fiber

Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains offer an abundance of fiber. Although fiber is known to aid in gastrointestinal health, many people might not be aware fiber also bolsters the immune system, regulates blood sugar levels, and reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol. The recommended daily amount of fiber for older adults is 30 grams.

Reduces Sugar Intake

Sugar is found in many processed foods. Sweet foods and foods with hidden sugars are commonly a part of the daily American diet. Nutritionists estimate the average American consumes more than 20 teaspoons of sugar every day. Along with raising triglycerides, consuming large amounts of sugar also robs the body of minerals and vitamins. A 2012 study performed by scientists from the University of California Los Angeles also found that refined sugar plays a role in cognitive impairment. Desserts and sweets from the Mediterranean regions are made using honey or fruit.

Enhances Cardiovascular Health

The CDC warns cardiovascular disease remains the major leading cause of adult deaths in the country. However, by changing eating habits to reduce saturated and trans fats by increasing plant-based foods, cardiovascular disease risk can be reduced. Red wine is another part of the Mediterranean diet. This beverage contains a compound called resveratrol, which inhibits LDL cholesterol formation and reduces the chance of plaque development. When seniors switch to a Mediterranean diet, they can reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases along with other potentially life-threatening medical conditions. The diet has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Plano seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that helps slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to. To learn more about CTM, call (214) 586-0120 to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable Care Managers.