Depression and anxiety are often unrecognized and as such, unaddressed in older adults. When these disorders are identified, a common treatment option, unfortunately, is the option that’s become all-too-standard for any senior health issue: medication. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Research suggests a simple mineral can help reduce depression and anxiety symptoms: magnesium.

A study published in a peer-reviewed psychiatry journal found that among nearly 6,000 middle-aged and senior, community-dwelling adults, magnesium intake and depression scores; in other words, higher magnesium intake correlated with lower depression scores and vice versa. The findings remained significant even after adjusting for factors that might contribute to depression, such as socioeconomic and lifestyle variables.

Magnesium intake was assessed using comprehensive food-frequency questionnaires, a method that allows participants to chart their food consumption. Good sources of dietary magnesium include spinach, quinoa, nuts, black beans, avocado and dark chocolate. Magnesium supplementation is also an option if dietary sources prove insufficient. Talk to your doctor for more information.