Good Nutrition, Fights Depression Among Seniors
Written by Sally Phillips
Published: 05 July 2017
Not everyone knows the correlation between good nutrition and depression. The latter is usually thought of as caused by emotions and a biochemical imbalance in the body. However, nutrition has an extremely important role to play in the severity and length of depression among seniors. What you eat and put in your body affects the way you respond physically and mentally.
Depression among the elderly is commonly characterized by occasional feelings of sadness. However, persistent feelings of unhappiness, sorrow or grief is not a typical component of aging. If untreated, depression has serious consequences that include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, suicidal thoughts, and physical pain.
Assessment of depression among the elderly is difficult to do as there is no single cause of the condition. Conversely, there is no distinct treatment for depression. The right cure might only be found after a certain time. Overall, the standard treatment for depression consists of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Eating a Well-Balanced Diet
In addition to medications such as antidepressants and serotonin reuptake inhibitors, lifestyle changes are favored to counteract the effects of senior depression. Exercise, getting enough sleep daily, and improved diets are major lifestyle habits that can have a huge impact on an older adult’s depression.
Particularly, a well-balanced diet ensures that the elderly receive their daily requirements of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Recent findings from a study conducted by researchers at Deakin University found that diets can help people who have severe depression. The study used respondents who have severe depressive disorders and put them on a Mediterranean style of diet abundant in fresh fruits & vegetables, olive oil, nuts, and wholegrain.
The results of the study indicated that a third of patients reported meaningful improvements in mood. Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet is responsible for enhancing cardiovascular health, lowering diabetes risks, and improving longevity, says the director of the Food and Mood Centre at the university. In effect, the study alludes that good diets can reinforce the mental condition of people including the elderly.
Improving Overall Quality of Life
However, it should be noted that diets alone such as the Mediterranean type is not a replacement to treat depression. In the study, most of the participants were receiving drug therapy or psychotherapy. What it stresses is that it is essential to eat well as you age to prevent and treat depression. In the case of seniors, managing depression can only make their quality of life better considering the difficulties of normal aging on their physical and mental health.