How Seniors Can Use Nutritious Foods To Improve Their Mood

Source: Photo by Ryan Reinoso on Unsplash

Author: Jessica Santos

Nutritious meals are essential to keeping our bodies healthy. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional dessert, but it’s only to our bodies’ benefit to include nourishing ingredients more often in our meals.

We know that we need nutritious food to maintain our physical health. However, food can also play a role in improving our mood and productivity. Below are a few ways you can incorporate more nourishing food into your day to help you eat and feel good.

Eat at regular times

Eating three square meals a day isn’t a new concept for most of us. However, keeping a regular meal schedule has its benefits. Some studies have found that keeping up regular eating intervals can potentially reduce inflammation, improve stress resistance, among other benefits. 

If you have trouble keeping up with your meals, set a schedule or ask your caregiver to help set a schedule for your meals. It’ll be easier to stick with a routine if you’re consistent. Planning meals ahead of time for the week, or even over the next few days, can also take some stress away from daily planning so you focus on enjoying your meal!

Incorporate some color in your plate

Another common food tip? Don’t skip your fruits and veggies! One study found that eating raw fruits and veggies contributed to a higher positive mood and reduced depressive symptoms.

They’re also a great source of antioxidants which can help fight oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one factor that can fuel the growth of some chronic conditions.

Make sure to keep your favorite fruits and vegetables around the house. Keeping them in stock at home makes it easier to add them to your meals or to have as a snack. If you’re up for it, try incorporating some new veggies and fruits into your meals to switch things up.

Here are some antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies you can try:

  • Cucumber
  • Melons
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Berries

Don’t skip the protein

Protein is commonly called the “building blocks” for everything from bones, blood, and vitamins. Proteins provide a variety of nutrients and can support different functions in your body. One study found that diets low in protein can result in low energy levels.

You may already incorporate protein in you’re an avid meat-eater or enjoy eggs in your breakfast. However, it’s important to also incorporate other sources of protein like nuts, seafood, and seeds. Differentiating your protein sources can introduce additional nutrients into your diet. For example, seafood is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are some examples of high-quality proteins (but, this is by no means an exhaustive list!):

  • Lentils
  • Chia seeds
  • Turkey
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs

Moderate sugar and refined carbs

Completely cutting out sugar and refined carbs isn’t easy, especially if you have a sweet tooth or love snacking throughout the day. However, limiting your intake can potentially impact your mood. There are also a few ways too much added sugars can impact our physical health.

Needless to say, it can’t hurt to eat our favorite sugary snacks and foods less often. Examples of these foods and ingredients include donuts, white flour, and syrups.

If you’re struggling with cutting back on these types of foods, start with one swap in your day. Reach for a piece of fruit to replace one snack. You can also start by replacing ingredients in your meals. For example, you can swap out white rice for brown rice.

Incorporating nutritious foods into your diet is one of the many ways seniors can help improve both their energy and mood. Staying active, getting plenty of sleep, and keeping your mind sharp are all factors that contribute to healthy aging. Before trying any diet or incorporating new foods, contact your healthcare provider to learn what foods work best for your body.


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