Has your parent’s doctor suggested they consider following the Mediterranean diet for better health? You may have heard of the diet, but perhaps you’re not sure what it is or what it can do for your parent. Well, May is a good time to learn more since it’s National Mediterranean Diet Month.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet isn’t really a diet at all. There’s no formal plan and the aim isn’t to lose weight, though that may be one of the benefits. Instead, the Mediterranean diet focuses on eating certain kinds of foods. The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy diet that recommends foods that are high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and monounsaturated fats. Unlike other heart healthy diets, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t restrict fats, but suggests that 35 – 40 percent of calories come from healthy fats. The diet also recommends eating lots of vegetables, fruits, and grains that are high in fiber.
Some foods that are included in the Mediterranean diet are:
- Lean pork.
- Garbanzo Beans.
- Whole grain pasta.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Greek yogurt.
What are the health benefits?
The Mediterranean diet has benefits for both the body and the brain. It may also help boost your parent’s mood and increase their energy. Scientific evidence has shown that people who follow the diet have a lower incidence of death due to cardiovascular disease and a lower rate of overall deaths.
Following a Mediterranean diet may help prevent some of the following diseases or conditions:
- Heart disease.
- High cholesterol.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Metabolic syndrome.
- Parkinson’s disease.
How can your parent get started?
Making a change to the way they eat may be difficult for your parent at first. Experts recommend starting with small changes. To help your parent move toward the Mediterranean diet, caregivers can swap certain foods. For example, instead of offering your parent pretzels when they are craving something crunchy, suggest carrot or pepper sticks with salsa instead. Vegetables should be sautéed in olive oil instead of butter. Also, instead of using mayonnaise on sandwiches, try spreading hummus on the bread instead.
Ask your parent’s caregiver to help your parent plan meals that follow the guidelines for the Mediterranean diet. Your parent may enjoy looking for new recipes and then shopping for the ingredients. If your parent enjoys cooking, caregivers can help them to prepare meals. If your parent is reluctant to change the way they eat, invite them over to enjoy a delicious meal that falls within the guidelines, then give them the recipes for the dishes.
The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable caregiver services in Buford, GA and the surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.
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