The Importance of Protecting Mental Health as We Age

By on July 3, 2020
Mental Health

There are several types of mental health problems that we need to be aware of as we age, such as becoming forgetful, memory loss, and depression. There are things we can start doing today that can protect our mental health and even improve it.

Relieving Depression

Depression is common among people as they age, but it shouldn’t be. If you suffer from depression and medication isn’t helping, consider alternative options. For example, there is a noninvasive treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In fact, using TMS treatment for depression is gaining traction among experts as an effective option to consider.

TMS uses a magnetic field that stimulates the nerve cells in the brain that can improve the symptoms of depression. Don’t let the thought of magnetic fields worry you, this procedure is painless. The magnetic pulses stimulate brain cells helping different parts of the brain to communicate. This stimulation can have a lasting effect on relieving depression and boosting your mood.

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A Healthy Diet for Mental Health

Eating a healthy diet is just as important for mental health as it is for physical health. A diet that is high in saturated fat can clog the blood vessels in the brain just like it can in the rest of your body. When your blood is clogged with saturated fat, it cannot deliver as much blood and oxygen.

By limiting high-fat foods like meat, dairy products, and refined vegetable oils, you can start to clear your circulatory system. As more blood and oxygen circulate through your brain, your mood and mental health will improve.

Eating a diet high in plant foods like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and beans will also help your mental health. All plant foods have phytochemicals and antioxidants that can protect your brain.

Studies have found that antioxidants in foods like berries, broccoli, whole grains, and other plant-based foods can prevent age-related memory loss. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids like certain fish, walnuts, and flax seeds are excellent for mental health.

Exercise for Good Mental Health

Staying physically fit is great for improving your mood and keeping your brain healthy. As we age our brains shrink, but studies have found that exercise can help our brains continue to grow, and form new neural connections. This is important for our cognitive abilities and memory.

Exercising helps your brain age slower. A study found that those who walked more than 5,000 steps per day had a higher cerebral brain volume when compared to those who walked fewer steps.

Light exercise can be walking, using dumbbells or resistance bands, a treadmill, or an exercise bike. Exercise also helps you sleep better, and quality sleep is important for mental health.

Staying Socially Active

Being socially active can protect our mental health. Staying socially active lowers the risk of dementia, depression, anxiety, and can improve your cognitive abilities. Interacting with others keeps us thinking and our minds sharp.

Make it a point to stay in contact with friends and family. You can join groups or a club, volunteer to help others or participate in a fitness class.

Keep Your Brain Active

By exercising your brain, you will protect your mental health. There are many activities you can do to keep your brain sharp such as:

  • Learning a new language
  • Learning a new hobby or continue with your current hobby
  • Reading books or join a book club
  • Doing word and jigsaw puzzles
  • Doing brain teasers

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The Importance of Protecting Mental Health as We Age