How healthy eating may help alleviate depression
As people get older, most of the common health issues they experience are fairly noticeable. If, for example, someone is in pain or discomfort, this will be evident, and hopefully a test or examination will reveal the problem. But one ailment that affects many older people is something that isn’t always obvious and won’t show up on any test: depression.
It is estimated that as much as five percent of the elderly population is affected by depression, and there are many reasons for this. Medical conditions such as dementia can lead to depression. There have also been links between depression and certain medications. But whatever the cause, it is vital that it is identified and addressed as soon as possible.
If you suspect an elderly loved one is depressed, there are a variety of things you can do, including educating yourself and getting professional help. You can also encourage a change in their diet. A recent study shows a strong link between food and depression. So, what should someone with depression be eating?
Start by cleaning out the fridge
The first step should be to get rid of the bad stuff. This includes candy, cookies, refined cereals, and processed meats. You should also strongly discourage fried foods. Perhaps it’s obvious from this list, but fast food is a big no-no.
What a healthy diet consists of
The good news when it comes to creating a diet that can help with depression is that it doesn’t have to be bland or boring. There are tons of delicious foods that can be on the menu, including:
Who says this bird has to be reserved for Thanksgiving? Turkey is an excellent source of lean protein, and it has another special component: tryptophan. The chemical that everyone blames for making them sleepy also stimulates serotonin, which makes us feel good.
Whole grain foods also do a nice job of helping the body release serotonin, and there are quite a few to choose from. Brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta, and even oatmeal are all items that help to improve a mood.
One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids is certain types of fish, such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel. These fatty acids have properties that have been proven to help people with depression. Fish also has other health benefits, including decreasing inflammation and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Because it is a terrific source of antioxidants, green tea is good for the body, but it can also be great for the mind. This is due to an amino acid called theanine. Found naturally in tea leaves, theanine has anti-stress qualities that encourage relaxation. Green tea has also correlated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Fruits and vegetables
Pretty much all fruit and veggies are good for us, but there are certain kinds that have qualities that may specifically help with depression. Papaya, for instance, has compounds called phytosterols that can foster a sense of calm. Radishes have been shown to increase dopamine levels, which can put someone in a better mood. Blueberries have been shown to boost overall brain function, and small studies have even linked them to helping alleviate depression.
A home health aide can do the cooking
For most people, keeping track of exactly what a senior loved one is eating can be difficult. Fortunately, a home health aide can stay on top of things and even do the meal preparation.
This is just one of the services the home healthcare workers of FirstLantic provide to seniors in Indian River, Broward, St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach Counties. To learn more about what we can offer you, call us at 561-900-7297 or get in touch through our online form.