Did you know for two years in a row, U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Mediterranean Diet as the best overall diet on the planet? Now that’s a rave review if we ever hear one!
The Mediterranean diet is not a single diet but a diet pattern inspired by southern European countries’ diets. This diet emphasizes plant-based foods, olive oil, fish, chicken, beans, and cereals. The diet draws on various healthy foods and habits from traditions in several regions, including Greece, Spain, southern France, Portugal, and Italy.
What are the effects?
Studies show people who live in the Mediterranean region or follow the Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of various diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits and vegetables and is a healthy diet for seniors with diabetes. In today’s article in Living Maples, we will talk about the Mediterranean diet and its effects on diabetes.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the best diets for seniors with diabetes because it positively affects blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. A Mediterranean diet can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar, lose weight, and enjoy fresh and delicious foods.
The diet’s main ingredients include fresh fruits and vegetables, unsaturated fats, oily fish, moderate consumption of dairy products, and low meat and sugar consumption.
Mediterranean Diet and Managing Diabetes
According to scientists, the Mediterranean diet mainly contains the foods your body needs, such as vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and less of what it doesn’t, like red meat and refined carbohydrates.
Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compares the Mediterranean diet with other diets, including vegetarian, vegan, low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fibre, and low-glycemic-index diets. The researchers found that the Mediterranean diet outperforms the others. In this study, the seniors following the Mediterranean, low-glycemic index, low-carbohydrate, and high-protein diets had better control of their blood sugar levels for three months. It was interesting that seniors following the Mediterranean diet saw significant additional benefits. The Mediterranean diet helped them lose more weight than seniors using other diets and saw improved cardiovascular health, including better cholesterol levels.
As said earlier, the Mediterranean diet is composed of fruits and vegetables. It is also rich in lean protein such as fish and olive oil and whole grains. Researchers showed that the Mediterranean diet foods are rich in monosaturated fat and fibre, beneficial for seniors with diabetes. That is due to their ability to lower blood sugar and cholesterol level.
Read More: Trending Diets of 2020 for Seniors
Diabetes is not a dangerous condition per se, and the risk lies in its complications. Sharon Movsas, a dietician in Montefiore Health System, mentioned cardiovascular diseases as the main complication of diabetes. Seniors with diabetes are prone to have heart attacks and strokes. The Mediterranean diet could easily control high blood pressure and cholesterol are risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Why is the Mediterranean Diet Recommended for Diabetics
One of the reasons that make the Mediterranean diet a healthy one is its plant-based diet content. Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, olives, onions, and lettuce are good for controlling blood sugar and are also suitable for health and preventing many cancers.
This diet is suitable for seniors with diabetes because it contains many unsaturated fats and tiny amounts of saturated ones. It also includes large quantities of fresh vegetables and unprocessed foods.
The Mediterranean diet is not restrictive, so seniors do not suffer from a lack of vitamins and minerals by following this diet. On the other hand, seniors quickly adapt to this diet and can continue it for a long time.
Research has also shown that the Mediterranean diet, especially with regular exercise, promotes heart health and reduces type 2 diabetes in seniors and cancer risk.
Foods to Eat on the Mediterranean Diet
Here is a list of foods suitable for the Mediterranean diet that can help you manage diabetes:
- Whole grains: Brown rice, barley, quinoa, semolina, Faro, buckwheat, and wheat.
- Seeds, nuts, and legumes: Good choices include red beans, peas, lentils, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sesame, and sunflower seeds.
- Vegetables: Avocados, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, asparagus, olives, tomatoes, vegetables, cucumbers, and eggplants.
- Fruits: Melons, figs, dates, grapes, pomegranates, citrus fruits, berries, and apples.
- Fresh fish: High-fat fish such as salmon and sardines, which are high in omega-3s.
- Healthy dairy: Low-fat cheeses, yogurt, and low-fat or skim milk.
- Herbs and spices: Basil, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, pepper powder, saffron, mint, ginger, and rosemary.
- Healthy oils: Canola, grape seed oil, and olive oil.
- Chicken: Chicken or turkey.
- Drinks: Water, coffee, tea, and wine (in moderation)
Foods to Limit
- Sweets (cakes, cookies, candy)
Foods to Avoid
- Processed meats (hot dogs, sausage, deli meat, chicken nuggets)
- Ultra-processed foods (chips, muffins, sugary cereals)
- Fast food
- Soda and other sweetened drinks
The Mediterranean Diet in a Nutshell
- It is composed of vegetables and grains.
- The Mediterranean diet allows small amounts of low-fat or non-fat dairy products (such as yogurt), eggs, and meat.
- In the Mediterranean diet, flavouring foods is done using aromatic vegetables and spices instead of salt.
- The Mediterranean diet positively affects blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- This diet replaces saturated fats with unsaturated fats, which may explain its positive effects on insulin sensitivity.
- It is the perfect diet for people with diabetes due to lowering blood sugar and cholesterol.
- The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy style of eating that is good for people with heart conditions.
The Mediterranean diet can be a healthy and effective dietary approach for individuals with diabetes and those looking to prevent diabetes and improve their overall health. However, working with a healthcare professional to develop an individualized nutrition plan that meets your specific needs and preferences is essential. Give the Mediterranean diet a try for at least a month and use plenty of beans, lentils, fish, fruits, and vegetables and make most of your whole grains to control your diabetes and ensure a healthy life. Come back to us and talk about your experience.