Eating can make a senior happy for a variety of reasons, but some food actually contains nutrients that specifically make the brain experience positive feelings. Since the elderly are often susceptible to issues with mood and depression, it’s especially important for you to include the right foods in your senior loved one’s diet to help him or her stay happy and healthy. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care in Mississauga, has put together a list of healthy, mood-boosting foods your loved one may want to eat more frequently.
1. Green Tea
Full of healthy nutrients and antioxidants, green tea is a brain health powerhouse. It contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that increases dopamine production in the brain to boost mood. Green tea can also help protect your loved one’s brain against Alzheimer’s.
Bananas are rich in vitamins B6, A, and C, and are also a good source of carbohydrates. They contain the amino acid tryptophan, which works together with B6 to make serotonin in the body. Many researchers believe an imbalance in serotonin levels can lead to depression, making bananas a satisfying and healthy snack for your loved one.
3. Dark Chocolate
Eating dark chocolate can increase your loved one’s feelings of pleasure and elevate his or her mood by stimulating the production of endorphins. Dark chocolate also contains serotonin to help stave off depression and phenylethylamine, another chemical in the brain that produces euphoric feelings.
Spinach is packed with nutrients that enhance mood. It is rich in folic acid, zinc, and magnesium, all of which protect the brain against anxiety. An easy way to increase spinach in your loved one’s diet is through a daily green smoothie. If you include a banana and a tablespoon of cocoa in the smoothie, you will have a healthy drink to serve your loved one that will help him or her remain happy.
The probiotic organisms in yogurt and other cultured foods make it a good choice for seniors. Recent studies show lactobacillus and other bacteria in the gut have a positive effect on the brain, including mood. Bacteria found in yogurt also contribute to healthy digestion, which can have a positive impact on your loved one’s feelings and mood.
To learn more about senior nutrition and how it can positively impact your loved one’s wellbeing, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our expertly trained caregivers can help prepare healthy meals, go grocery shopping, and even provide social companionship to help boost your loved one’s mood. We offer both live-in and part-time care, as well as specialized Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and Alzheimer’s care Mississauga families can trust. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (905) 337-1200 and schedule a free in-home consultation.