Perhaps you’ve heard of the Mediterranean diet. It’s widely considered one of the healthiest eating styles your aging relative can follow. It’s been touted as being great for heart health. It is balanced and contains the kinds of nutrients older adults need. Now, though, researchers have found one more reason to follow the Mediterranean diet—it may also be good for the digestive system.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is, as the name suggests, based on how people who live around the Mediterranean Sea eat. There are no specific rules for the diet. In general, the diet consists of these main components:
- Eating fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains every day.
- Eating some fish, poultry, beans, and eggs each week.
- Eating dairy products in moderation.
- Eating only moderate amounts of red meat.
On the whole, the diet is plant based, not meat based. And, it’s not just about what your aging relative eats, it’s also about how they eat. A key part of the Mediterranean diet is eating meals with friends and family on a regular basis.
How Can the Mediterranean Diet Aid Digestive Health?
Past research has shown that when an older adult eats a poor diet, they may have less stamina and strength. In addition, they can also have trouble with their microbiome. The microbiome is the bacteria that lives in the gut. When the balance of good and bad bacteria are out of balance, it can cause digestive problems.
In a new study, researchers tracked the way eating the Mediterranean diet impacted the microbiomes of around 600 participants. All of the participants were aged 65 to 79 and lived in Poland, the Netherlands, France, Italy, or the United Kingdom. 28 of the participants were frail. 151 of them were considered nearly frail. 433 were not frail.
The researchers assessed the participants’ microbiomes at the start of the study and then again in 12 months. Some of them continued to eat their regular diet and others ate a Mediterranean diet that had been designed especially for seniors.
At the end of the study, the researchers discovered that those who had eaten the Mediterranean diet had beneficial changes to their microbiomes. One of the changes was a more diverse microbiome, which is better for digestive health. The diet also lowered the amount of chemicals produced in the gut that can cause inflammation.
If your older family member is interested in trying the Mediterranean diet, senior care can help them. A senior care provider can assist the older adult in planning meals that conform to the guidelines of the diet and make a grocery list for the ingredients. Senior care can also offer transportation to the grocery store as well as help shopping and putting the groceries away.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Senior Care in Neosho, MO please contact the caring staff at Adelmo Family Care today at (417) 206-4576.