As a byproduct of aging, there are a range of challenges we face in our lives. There is a lack of mobility, a loss of independence, and a loss of loved ones. The realities of aging can be physically and emotionally cruel. But you can combat the depression that often comes with aging by sticking to a healthy diet.
Physicans say that older adults need to be extra vigilant when it comes to risk factors associated with depression. Depression is more common with those seniors with illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80% of seniors have at least one chronic condition. 50% have two or more conditions.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
If you are experiencing feelings of sadness or anxiety that last for several weeks, you’ll may be feeling these other symptoms as well:
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Thoughts of suicide
“If you notice these changes in your loved one, pay attention to their behavior. Most often than not, their symptoms can get worse. You can serve as their support system and encourage them to seek a medical professional,” said Andy Cruz, Pride PHC vice president.
FOODS TO FIGHT DEPRESSION
While medication is a trusted solution to depression, there are specific foods that can help the body. It’s proven that certain foods have a direct effect on mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. We have come up with a list of foods known to reduce inflammation in the brain which we know to be a marker for symptoms of depression.
- Leafy green: Broccoli, kale, spinach or Swiss chard are all nutrient-dense foods. They even have immune-boosting nutrients and can help attack precancerous cells in the body.
- Fish: Salmon, mackerel, tuna (not canned) and sardines are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. One study found that there was a positive correlation between an increase in fish intake and its effects on depression or bipolar disorders.
- Nuts or seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds are also great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Whole grains: Oatmeal or brown rice are two good sources of fiber. Research has repeatedly shown that high-fiber diets help lower inflammation. Studies have shown that people who eat fiber have lower c-reactive protein (CRP) levels in their blood. CRP is linked to diseases like arthritis or diabetes.
- Beans: Kidney beans, black beans or pinto beans are some examples. They are not only high in fiber but vitamins and minerals.