The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, fish, legumes, and olive oil. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids and may provide several health benefits to older adults. Here are five reasons seniors should try the Mediterranean diet.
1. Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
The Mediterranean diet may lower the risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and hypertension. Fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids dampen systemic inflammation, including inflammation that can develop inside coronary arteries. This diet may also prevent a cardiac arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm. Fresh fish may play an important role in regulating the heart rate so contractions are strong and regular, which helps the blood flow effortlessly through the coronary arteries, thus reducing the risk of blood clots. If your senior loved one is at high risk for heart disease, following the Mediterranean diet may lower his or her risk.
Caring for a loved one can be extremely rewarding, but family caregivers need to make time to practice self-care and maintain a healthy lifestyle too. When they need respite care, La Mesa families rely on the compassionate caregivers from Coast Care Partners to care for their loved ones, giving family caregivers the time to focus on other family members and take care of their own health.
2. Boosts Mood
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the Mediterranean diet play important roles in preventing depression and anxiety, and they facilitate the release of “feel-good” chemicals known as endorphins. If your loved one experiences depression or other emotional health issues, trying the Mediterranean diet may alleviate the symptoms. While the Mediterranean diet on its own may not eliminate depression or anxiety, it can be an excellent addition to your loved one’s depression treatment plan, which may include medication and psychological therapy.
3. Promotes Healthy Joints
People with degenerative joint and bone conditions such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis may experience less pain and inflammation when following the Mediterranean diet. This diet plan may also relieve morning stiffness while increasing range of motion and mobility. When combined with anti-inflammatory medications and exercise, the Mediterranean diet is an excellent intervention for seniors with chronic pain. It may also help them lose weight so less stress is placed on the joints.
4. Enhances Skin Condition
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and olive oil, are thought to play an important role in collagen production. As people age, collagen production decreases, leaving the skin dry, dehydrated, and thin. Also, many seniors experience severe itching, which is thought to be caused by decreased collagen production and a diminished lipid skin layer. When the Mediterranean diet is followed, skin condition may be enhanced, which may reduce the risk for irritation, itching, and skin breakdown. Other interventions that enhance skin condition include drinking plenty of water, moisturizing with a hypoallergenic lotion, and using a humidifier during the winter months.
A trained professional caregiver with expertise in nutrition can be a wonderful source of information and support for seniors who want to adopt healthier habits, including eating more nutritious foods. For high-quality, compassionate at-home care, La Mesa families rely on Coast Care Partners to help their aging loved ones make healthy lifestyle choices that increase longevity. Call us today at 619-354-2544 to learn more about our flexible home care plans.