As people age, their chances of contracting Type 2 diabetes greatly increases. Luckily, there are a few ways that this risk can be minimized. One of the most commonly known ways to decrease the risk is through weight loss, if a person is very overweight. Another way is to stay active--30 minutes a day, five times a week is all that it takes to help reduce the risk of this disease. One less commonly known way, however, is to increase the amount of yogurt an elderly person consumes.
How Yogurt May Help
Studies have shown that daily consumption of yogurt may help to decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes. This is in combination with other common prevention techniques, such as losing weight and staying active. A study conducted by Dr. Frank Hu, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, helps to prove these findings. His study showed an 18 percent reduction in the risk of Type 2 diabetes in those who consumed yogurt daily. The study followed more than 580,000 people. Of those people, 15,000 of them had Type 2 diabetes, and of the people that did not have this disease, some consumed yogurt on a daily basis, resulting in the 18 percent lower risk.
Just why yogurt works better than any other dairy product, such as milk and cheese, is still under investigation. The preliminary hypothesis is that the probiotics in yogurt play a role in the reduction of the disease. The probiotics are thought to help reduce insulin sensitivity as well as inflammation. Other studies claim that the high levels of protein found in yogurt help people stay fuller longer, which results in eating less junk, which can mean lower body weight, reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Living a Healthy Life
The only way to properly prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes is to lead a healthy life overall. This means eating six small meals, covering each food group on a daily basis, drinking plenty of water, and staying active. As a part of this healthy diet, yogurt should play a vital role. It does not have to be a specific type of yogurt - Greek and regular yogurt both had the same effect in any studies performed. Because of its health benefits on the overall body, however, yogurt can help to have further effects on the body because a person is less likely to have gastrointestinal issues or to choose unhealthy foods when yogurt with healthy bacteria is chosen on a daily basis.
Helping Elderly Loved Ones
Independent elderly loved ones may neglect their diets, and it is up to caregivers and family members to encourage them to eat well. A good diet helps ensure long-term health, including diabetes prevention. Overseeing a loved one's diet can help to ensure he or she gets adequate vitamins and minerals on a daily basis to ensure overall health. This can help to further the effects that daily yogurt can have on reducing the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.
Here is what a healthy person should be eating each day:
- Complex carbohydrates - whole fruits and vegetables
- Lean proteins - chicken, lean beef, and turkey
- Whole grains - Oatmeal, rice, and other whole grains
- Low-fat dairy - Milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Healthy fats - Olive oil, nuts, and nut butter
Every person should avoid added sugars and other processed ingredients to decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes as well as other health complications.
Another helpful way to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes in an elderly person Is for family members/caregivers to encourage activity. The more sedentary a person is, the higher his or her chances of getting chronic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes. Exercise need not be super intensive and difficult. In fact, just a simple 30-minute walk throughout the neighborhood on a daily basis can be enough, but other exercises, such as bike riding, aerobic activity, and weight lifting can also be helpful.
While yogurt on a daily basis might not be the only thing an elderly person needs to avoid the risk of diabetes, it certainly can help, according to the studies. The future will only hold more information about how yogurt and possibly other foods can help better people's lives as they advance in years. In the meantime, including yogurt in an elderly person's daily food consumption to reap the benefits of this super food can help ward off diseases and keep a loved one full and satisfied with a healthy and smart food choice.
Chen, Mu, Qi, Sun, Giovannuci, Edward, Mozaffarian, Dariush, Manson, JoAnn E., Willette, Walter C., Hu, Frank B. (November 25, 2015). Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis. BMC Medicine, 12:215.Retrieved from http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-014-0215-1. Accessed August 12, 2016.
Diaz-Lopez, A., Bullo, M., Martinez-Gonzalez, M., Corella, D., Estruch, R., Fito, M., Gomez-Garcia, E., Fiol, M., Garcia de la Corte, F. J., Ros, E., Babio, N., et al. (2016). Dairy product consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in an elderly Spanish Mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk. European Journal of Nutrition, 55(1): 349-360. Retrieved from https://www.infona.pl/resource/bwmeta1.element.springer-doi-10_1007-S00394-015-0855-8/tab/summary. Accessed on August 12, 2016.
Harvard School of Public Health. Yogurt may reduce type 2 diabetes risk. News. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/yogurt-may-reduce-type-2-diabetes-risk/. Accessed on August 8, 2016.