If you are a caregiver for an aging loved one or a family member living with a disability, we know how challenging your days might be. The physical demands juggling all of the tasks a caregiver has in a day can really take a toll. It often leads to weaker immune systems, heart disease, and high blood pressure in caregivers. One way of preventing yourself from becoming another caregiver statistic is with a well-balanced diet. More and more nutritionists and physicians are recommending the Mediterranean Diet.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet follows a very simple philosophy. It focuses on consuming few processed foods and opting for a lifestyle rich in fruits, lentils, fish and vegetables. Olive oil is a main component of the diet. Breads are limited to multi-grains that are low in carbohydrates. Dairy products are allowed but limited. The diet also allows for a glass of wine each day.
Researchers at The University of Louisiana studied people who had adopted the Mediterranean Diet and discovered the following positive health impact:
- Reduced bad cholesterol. Researchers believe this is the result of reducing fat and carbohydrates while increasing foods rich in soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Improved brain activity. Olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids that are common in the Mediterranean Diet are believed to help improve cognition.
- Lower cancer risk. This promising statistic was credited to people consuming less red meat and animal fats.
- Less strokes and heart disease. People who followed this diet had lower incidence of high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease.
- Lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. This is yet another study that seems to show the role antioxidants might play in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. The Mediterranean Diet is rich in them and they are believed to decrease the inflammation that is increasingly being linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
You can find more detailed information about the Mediterranean Diet at the Mayo Clinic’s website.