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How Does the Mediterranean Diet Ward Off Dementia?

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Mediterranean cultures follow a plant-based diet filled with fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts. This diet has numerous health benefits, as it can promote strong bones, lower blood pressure, and boost heart health. It may also reduce the risk of dementia. Learn more about this diet and how it can benefit your senior loved one. 

What Is the Mediterranean Diet?

When people think of Mediterranean cuisine, they likely think of high-calorie foods like pizza and souvlaki. While these foods can be found in the Mediterranean region, they’re not daily staples. People living in these areas follow a diet that focuses on plants and vegetables. Extra virgin olive oil is used rather than butter, and refined sugar and flour are exchanged for whole grains. Fish is the most common meat, and red meat is rarely consumed. 

A professional caregiver can ensure your loved one eats healthy meals and enjoys a higher quality of life. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Palm Desert, California, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

How Can Seniors Implement This Diet?

Seniors who want to get the benefits of Mediterranean cuisine should follow the MIND Diet, which stands for Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. To follow this diet, seniors should stop eating red meat, cheese, butter, sweets, and fried foods. They should try to eat six servings of leafy green vegetables every week and three servings of whole grains every day. Each week, they should also try to eat two servings of berries, three servings of beans, and at least one serving of fish. To cook, they should use olive oil, and they should also consume a glass of red wine with dinner. 

If your senior loved one needs assistance with healthy meal preparation and managing other daily activities, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Palm Desert, California, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.

Why Does the Mediterranean Diet Reduce the Risk of Dementia?

Studies show people who follow a plant-based diet are at least 30 percent less likely to experience cognitive impairment as they age. This is because this type of diet provides the nutrients the body needs to stay healthy, and it minimizes the inflammation that can lead to cognitive decline. This plant-based diet contains antioxidants, which can fend off the free radicals that damage the connections in the brain. It also provides the gut with healthy bacteria, which reduces inflammation throughout the body. 

Is There a Connection Between Brain Health and Dietary Patterns?

Studies suggest there is a connection between brain health and the nutritional content of the foods we eat. Claire McEvoy, a researcher at the UCSF School of Medicine, tested 6,000 Americans with an average age of 68. She studied their eating habits and found that the seniors who followed the MIND diet were 30 to 35 percent less likely to become cognitively impaired with age. 

Martha Clare Morris, the epidemiologist who developed the MIND diet, has also studied the diet’s effects on the senior population. When conducting research on nearly 1,000 seniors in the Chicago area, she discovered the people who followed the MIND diet had a 53 percent lower chance of dementia. 

Many of the other factors that lead to cognitive decline, like age and genetics, are uncontrollable. Following the Mediterranean diet is relatively simple. Diets can be easily modified, and seniors who want to reduce their dementia risk should follow a brain-healthy diet.

Encourage your loved one to switch to healthy foods, and help him or her prepare nutritious meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Palm Desert seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. To learn about our revolutionary in-home care methods, call us at (760) 345-0001 today.