With age, the body becomes less able to tolerate a poor diet, leading to an increased prevalence of diabetes among seniors. Fortunately, for older adults who take care of themselves with a nourishing diet complete with fresh produce, healthy fats and fiber, the risk of diabetes is curbed, according to a new analysis from Harokopio University in Athens, Greece.
Authors of the study examined 19 studies pertaining to the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for diabetes, which consists of a high intake of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, fish, whole grains and a moderate amount of wine. They found that volunteers who adhered to Mediterranean style of eating were at a 21 percent lower risk of diabetes when compared to control subjects. Moreover, individuals who were prone to cardiovascular disease saw benefits in particular, lowering their chances of developing the blood sugar disorder by 27 percent.
“Adherence to the Mediterranean diet may prevent the development of diabetes irrespective of age, sex, race or culture,” said Demosthenes Panagiotakos, Ph.D., lead investigator of the meta-analysis. “This diet has a beneficial effect, even in high risk groups, and speaks to the fact that it is never too late to start eating a healthy diet.”
Seniors who already have diabetes can see positive effects from a healthy diet, and those who may be near the onset of the disorder should pay special attention to their eating habits in an effort to stave off diabetes. Symptoms of the condition include fatigue, unusual thirst or hunger, a frequent need to urinate, skin problems and poor eyesight, according to the National Institutes of Health. Seniors and their loved ones should be aware of the signs of diabetes, as well as ways to keep blood sugar levels healthy. Senior assisted living services can also aid in spotting early symptoms as well as ensuring a proper diet.