Want to Improve Brain Health? Try the Mediterranean Diet!
March 10, 2021
The risk of poor brain function does increase as people age. But many recent studies are saying that dementia, loss of memory, and loss of verbal dexterity are not inevitable as one ages. Not for everyone.
In fact, the gene that predicts Alzheimer’s disease is present in a very small percentage of old people. Many people get Alzheimer’s, after the age of sixty, but environmental and lifestyle factors play a much larger role than science originally predicted.
Brain health, in other words, is mostly within an individual’s control. Staying socially engaged, accepting challenges, and exercising are all good ways to protect brain function. But let us not neglect diet.
The Mediterranean Diet Scores High Again
New studies on brain health have joined old studies on overall health to, once again, tout the advantages of the Mediterranean diet. What is this diet, you ask?
The Mediterranean diet is, above all things, rich in vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, fish, and poultry. A tipple of red wine is optional next to the Mediterranean plate, but not required.
Practitioners of this diet avoid red meat and butter, for the most part, preferring olive oil, tomato sauce, fresh-cooked bell peppers, onions, and garlic to give food its zest. Milk and cheese are consumed in low to moderate amounts.
Nothing is so much prohibited in the true Mediterranean diet so much as recommended in extremely small portions.
For instance, highly processed food, like spam, bologna, hot dogs, and, generally, foods that don’t look like something that came off the farm are rarely the foods of choice for Spaniards and Italians.
A Mediterranean day’s meal plan might look like this:
- For breakfast, a piece of whole grain toast with hummus or peanut butter and a few slices of tomato with a side of cafe con leche (coffee with warmed whole milk).
- For lunch, a fillet of sauteed tilapia with a side of grilled zucchini and eggplant. Maybe a slice of watermelon for dessert.
- For dinner, a green salad garnished with tuna, a plate of spaghetti made with whole grain pasta and tomatoes, peppers, onions, and mushrooms, and a side dish of green olives. A small dish of gelato for dessert.
- For a late night snack, a half cup of cashews or almonds. Yum.
Even if you’re not worried about Dad’s brain, the Mediterranean diet is still a good thing. It protects heart health and wards off heart attacks and strokes that come with hardening arteries.
If you are having trouble getting a parent to eat healthy, consider hiring elder care. Elder care professionals come to your mother or father’s home and cook up delicious meals that are rich in vegetables, olive oil, fish, chicken, and whole grains.
In conclusion, getting your mother or father to try the Mediterranean diet is a goal worth accomplishing because it can improve brain and heart health. See if you can wean your parents off the fries and hamburgers and introduce an array of delicious foods that have been keeping the Spanish and Italians happy and healthy for centuries.
If you or your loved one is looking for Elder Care in San Jose, CA, please call Familiar Surroundings Home Care.
Santa Clara County: (408) 979-9990
San Mateo County: (650) 353-9777
Santa Cruz County: (831) 480-3990