The physical toll the role of caregiver takes is well documented. Caregivers have weaker immune systems, increased risk of heart disease, and a greater chance of developing high blood pressure. All of these factors can lead to a stressed out, unhealthy caregiver. Maintaining a balanced diet is one of the keys to keeping our Michigan caregivers healthy. And recent studies indicate the Mediterranean Diet may help.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The underlying premise of the Mediterranean Diet is very simple. It focuses on eating very little processed foods and opting instead for a diet rich in fruits, lentils, fish and vegetables. Olive oil is one of the main components of the diet. Breads are multi-grain and low in carbohydrates. Dairy should be consumed in moderation. And the best news is that the diet includes a glass of wine or two each day.
When researchers at The University of Louisiana evaluated people who had adopted the Mediterranean Diet they discovered the following:
- A reduction in bad cholesterol. Believed to be the result of reducing fat and carbohydrates and increasing foods rich in soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Improved brain activity. They attributed this to the benefits of olive oil and omega 3 fatty acids in the fish.
- Lower risk of cancer. Researchers credited consuming lower red meat and animal fats to the decreased risk of cancer.
- Decreased risk of stroke and heart disease. Blood pressure was also reduced.
- Lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Experts agree that antioxidants are probably the reason. They help to decrease inflammation that is believed to contribute to decreased cognition.
If you are wondering how to get started, this Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid might be of help.
Have you adopted the Mediterranean Diet? What benefits have you experienced?