Do senior people need a special kind of diet? Is any kind of diet good for them? We know that usually the older you get the more are the chances you will be suffering from some kind of a disease whether this would be diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, osteoporosis or the Parkinson’s disease.
So this means that you need to follow a special kind of diet. Well, is the Mediterranean diet good for our senior people, our parents or our grandparents? We say that the Mediterranean diet is good for anyone irrespective of age, sex or race. It is a healthy kind of living suitable for all and the sooner one adopts it the better it will be for his/her health.
Mediterranean diet is a well-balanced diet with many options and suitable to satisfy any kind of taste. It is based on the well-known Mediterranean diet pyramid which gives to all an indication as to the frequency foods should be consumed and classifies foods in categories. Let us analyse however some of the needs senior people have and how these needs are satisfied when one cooks the Mediterranean way and adopts the Mediterranean diet.
The risk of Osteoporosis can be reduced by the consumption of foods reach in calcium. These foods are in the frequent list of the Mediterranean Diet and such foods are the dairy products, legumes and more particularly the beans and off-course spinach. One should not forget the Greek yogurt whose nutritional properties are well known and it contains Calcium and it is rich in Vitamin D. The fact that Greek yogurt is strained yogurt implies that it has twice the proteins and with fewer calories than regular yogurt.
The body of the senior people undergoes several changes and gradually enters into a slowdown process. One of the processes which are usually affected is the digestion process. It is particularly important for our seniors to maintain and sustain a regular and smooth digestive process and the foods which will help them achieve these are the foods rich in fiber. Such foods are fruits and vegetables as well as nuts. These are high in the frequency chart of the Mediterranean, so our seniors who have adopted the Mediterranean diet will have nothing to worry about the digestion irregularities since the daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts will enable them to maintain a regular digestion pattern.
There are 3 main types of Diabetes with the type-2 diabetes being the most common one, accounting for about 90% of the diabetes cases. Type-2 diabetes is also called adult-onset diabetes; it usually appears on people at an older page or obese people. Obesity causes insulin resistance and this result to high glucose levels in the blood. Mediterranean Diet is the diet against obesity. Following the Mediterranean diet helps you maintain the right glucose level in your blood or at least maintain glucose at low levels. Our post Mediterranean Diet and diabetes gives a broader explanation of the relation of diabetes and Med diet. It has to be noted that Mediterranean diet should be combined with regular exercise so as to achieve the maximum results. Our Senior people need to exercise daily and we believe that they should at least take a 30-40 minute walk on a daily basis.
Cardiovascular diseases are another common set of diseases among senior people and we have to admit that the Mediterranean diet has the answer for these cases as well. Mediterranean diet in combination with regular exercise is a way to prevent or reduce the probability of occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. Fresh fish taken twice a week can lead to a healthy life since fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help to the reduction of the blood pressure thus the risk of a heart disease. There are fish like the salmon which are richer in omega-3 than other fish.
There are several studies done concerning the diet of the senior people and how this affects their various activities, both physical and mental. One recent study performed by scientists from the University of Navarra showed that the Mediterranean diet which is rich in olive oil improved the brain power of older people. The research which is based on the findings on more than 500 people, men and women, between the ages of 55 and 80 and was published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry has associated the Mediterranean diet with both longevity and improved brain functions. The study took about six and half years of duration and it showed that people who followed the Med diet scored higher in cognitive tests than those who simply followed a low-fat diet. The same study has proven that Med diet protects us against Diabetes type-2 and heart diseases as well as stroke.
Mediterranean diet keeps you agile. The Navarra study has showed that Mediterranean diet and the use of olive oil reduces muscle weakness and other related signs of slowdown of motion by about 70%. In short the Mediterranean diet reduced frailty related to senior people and gave them the chance for a better life.
Mediterranean diet increases longevity. Many studies concerning the Mediterranean diet have repeatedly shown that people who have followed the Mediterranean diet lived longer. These studies were done in the area of the Mediterranean Sea, the origin of the Mediterranean diet, and following some observations about the lifestyle of people who lived in rather isolated places and islands like Crete and who had been following the Mediterranean diet and consumed increased amounts of olive oil. Should you want to find out more about longevity and its relation to the Mediterranean diet you may read the following review: ‘’Trichopoulou A. Traditional Mediterranean diet and longevity in the elderly: a review. Public Health Nutr. 2004 Oct;7(7):943-7. Review.’’
No matter which way you look at it, Mediterranean Diet is a healthy way of living and it certainly not only helps our seniors but the whole family. In fact the earlier you adopt the Mediterranean way of living the earlier you will start enjoying its benefits and the healthier you will be now and when you will reach your old age.