Do you dream about traveling to the Mediterranean? Perhaps you may even want to retire there. It's hard to imagine a more idyllic spot for kicking back and relaxing after a lifetime of hard work. However, wouldn't you hate to do all the work required to get there only to find you weren't able to enjoy it because of your health? Well, there's good news. If you go ahead and incorporate aspects of the Mediterranean lifestyle into your life now, you'll actually be better prepared to enjoy the real thing - if that's your goal.
We're not just talking about relaxing and getting enough sleep for once, as many of us hope to do in retirement. We're talking about eating the Mediterranean diet, which consists mainly of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts and seeds. This diet has been shown time and again to be fantastic for our health. Now, a new analysis has found that eating this way can help prevent frailty in older adults.
As you may know, frail seniors don't have much energy. They often lose weight and a lot of muscle tone. They're susceptible to a number of diseases and are more likely to suffer falls and fractures. They're at risk of dementia, disability, and living out their final days in a nursing home before dying a premature death. That's certainly not the paradise most of us imagine for our retirement!
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Numerous studies have been conducted on the effects of the Mediterranean diet, and researchers at University College London gathered and analyzed several of them for this study. They included four studies conducted in France, Spain, Italy, and China that involved 5,789 participants. Across the studies, the findings consistently showed that a Mediterranean diet reduced frailty risk by an amazing 50%. In fact, the participants who followed the diet the best over a four-year period cut their risk of frailty in half compared to those who followed it the least consistently. Overall, the diet also seemed to improve muscle strength, activity levels, healthy weight maintenance, and energy levels in the participants.
Those are great results and add to the growing evidence that eating a plant-based diet like this is great for your health. The Mediterranean diet does include meat, but it's not the star of the show. Instead, load your plate up with vegetables and use meat as a side or flavoring. Choose nuts and seeds and fresh fruit as snacks over empty-calorie carbs.
Finally, don't forget that your heart is a muscle too. And eating this diet has proven benefits for your heart. Many of the nutrients you get in this diet are also found in supplements like artichoke leaf extract and olive leaf extract. You can increase your intake of these and protect your heart with a supplement like Mediterranean Cholesterol Formula. It shouldn't replace a healthy diet, but it can give you some extra support in getting your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol to healthy levels.
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Gotaro Kojima, Christina Avgerinou, Steve Iliffe, Kate Walters. Adherence to Mediterranean Diet Reduces Incident Frailty Risk: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/jgs.15251