Long-term studies are now showing that the Mediterranean diet can enhance different aspects of a senior’s life, including physical, mental, and emotional health. Following this diet can also reduce the risk of many age-related illnesses and diseases. Here is a look at a few of the most compelling reasons older adults should consider switching over to the Mediterranean diet.
1. Fights Against Cancer
Researchers have discovered that certain foods and ingredients can slow the spread of cancerous cells throughout the body. The Mediterranean diet is centered on fresh produce filled with cancer-fighting antioxidants. These vital molecules reduce general inflammation, protect DNA from damage, and stop healthy cells from mutating into cancerous cells. Some of the best cancer-fighting foods include fatty fish, leafy green vegetables, and fresh olive oil.
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2. Boosts Mental Health
Depression has become a common emotional health issue among the senior population, and it can be triggered by a wide variety of internal and external factors, including diet. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging revealed the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of depression by over 98 percent. Some doctors believe this diet regulates hormone levels and triggers the production of important chemicals in the brain.
3. Manages Blood Sugar Levels
Around 25 percent of Americans over the age of 65 are living with diabetes, and this condition can be devastating when left untreated. However, the vast majority of seniors who have type 2 diabetes should be able to manage their blood sugar levels with dietary changes. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to increase blood sugar control and overall cardiovascular health. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, over 90 percent of all type 2 diabetes cases can be reversed with a traditional Mediterranean diet.
4. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
The Mediterranean diet is one of the most effective ways to regulate weight, and seniors who stay at a healthy weight have a much lower risk of heart disease. The diet is also filled with healthy fats that lower blood pressure. Many traditional Mediterranean dishes are prepared with healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, canola oil, and olive oil. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in seafood are very good for the heart as well.
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5. Promotes Cognitive Health
Cognitive decline is an unavoidable part of growing older, but seniors can boost their brain health by eating the proper foods. The same fats that are good for the heart are also good for brain cells and synapses. In addition to boosting cognitive health, the Mediterranean diet can also reduce the risk of mental disorders such as dementia. Studies have shown the Mediterranean diet helps with long-term memory, working memory, abstract reasoning, and judgment.
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