In addition to contributing factors like social isolation, a loss of independence or a lack of mobility, did you know diet can play an important role in senior depression? While medicine can be beneficial to depression sufferers, so can pharma-free actions like meditating, spending time outdoors or modifying daily diets to incorporate more foods that give your body (and mind) a boost. Don’t miss these smart suggestions:
Starting out your morning with fiber is like handing your digestive system a mop and letting it clean your insides out. As a result, you will feel much less sluggish and ready to face the day. Try a bowl of oatmeal or some whole grain cereals if you prefer.
Known as the gut-brain axis, studies have shown a correlation between gastrointestinal flora and the central nervous system, ultimately proving that probiotics fight against depression. With that in mind, there is no food richer in these healthy bacteria than full-fat Greek yogurt, boasting more calcium and protein than your low-fat standard yogurt alternatives.
Along with B12, a folic acid deficiency has been linked to depression. Unfortunately, folate can be rather difficult to locate using your diet alone, hence why many smart seniors prefer to rely on multivitamins to get all of their nutrients. In the meantime, you can consume a decent dose of this elusive nourishment via spinach and other general leafy greens, as well as asparagus and citrus fruits.
The connection between brain inflamma- tion and depression is well-documented and this is where the antioxidant called lycopene comes in. Tomato products are packed full of this anti-inflammatory substance, to the point that various studies have proven this diet choice to relieve many of the depressive symptoms. Other lycopene-rich foods include guava and water- melon.
Vitamin D is famously the sunshine vitamin, which has been increasingly connected to seasonal affective disorder. Thankfully, one can absorb a little bit of this nutrient from their food too, fittingly from the sunshine yolk center of the egg. The white of an egg is also loaded with protein, so crack them open and enjoy their hap- piness along with other vitamin D products such as mushrooms.
Instead of feeding your anxiety with stimulants like coffee or soda, swap them out for healthier tea alternatives. Green tea is often ap- preciated as a soothing, relaxing drink filled with antioxidants and nutrients, while chamomile has been linked to an easier night’s sleep. If you suffer from a sweet tooth, replace all sugars with moderate amounts of honey to avoid the blood sugar crash.
Especially when taken hand-in-hand with social engagement, exercise and sleep, ensuring proper nutrition is an empowering way to help seniors overcome depression and rediscover a satisfying quality of life.
Michelle Lovitt is the owner of Audubon Care Homes, located at 4713 Dreyfous Avenue in Metairie. For more information and to schedule a personal tour of Metairie’s newest home, call 290-1717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.