Can diet and exercise cure depression? – many people have been looking for the answer to this question lately. So why? Because some of the difficulties or psychological problems we experience in our lives sometimes make us depressed. When we realize it, we look for ways to get out of depression. There are many different ways to do it. And when you learn that the most effective of these are exercise and diet, it may not sound believable at first. Can diet and exercise cure depression? – If you are really looking for the answer to this question, then you will find answers to all your questions related to this topic in this article.
But first, let’s talk a little bit about depression.
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What is Depression?
Depression. That word we throw around very easily these days. That word we use to define anything from a bad day to a very big inadequacy to live life. But as anyone with depression knows, this is more than any word can describe.
Depression is when everything feels very difficult. When you feel so low that things you afore enjoyed no longer hold the same mirth. Consistently, you wonder about how you ever enjoy anything. You wonder what other people have that you can’t obtain a possess of. You feel that getting out of bed in the morning is harder and harder. You drag yourself through every day. You find it hard to go to bed at night. The low is so low that it seems to seize power, crushing you in a way that you could not have imagined previously.
Depression is initially a reaction. A reaction to stress and a seeming inadequacy to change your situation. It is a deficiency of self-care and giving too much to others from yourself. It is deep anger at injustice or unfairness in life. It is a lack of energy to take more of what life has for you. It is a deep sadness and regret. It is all of this and much more. We may not always aware of why it happens because of how slowly and quietly it sneaks upon us.
If you are searching for an answer to the question “can diet and exercise cure depression?”, read carefully;
Can Diet and Exercise Cure Depression?
Almost every person wants to know the answer to the question “can diet and exercise cure depression?”. First, let’s start with the benefits of exercise in depression treatment.
Exercise can trigger feel-good chemicals in your brain and help annihilate symptoms of depression — so take action!
Exercise definitely isn’t a depression cure-all, but a study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology found that heart-pumping, endorphin-boosting workouts actually encourage happiness.
Researchers say that physically active people have more general feelings of excitement and enthusiasm than less-active people. And beyond its protective effect against feelings of depression, exercise can decrease stress and help you get a better night’s sleep. Therefore your favorite fitness routine can be a great addition to your depression treatment plan.
“Exercise stimulates the release of many of the brain chemicals thought to be in low supply when someone is battling depression,” says David Muzina who is founding director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Mood Disorders Treatment and Research.
Here are 7 great exercises that will help ease the symptoms of depression.
Set Off That Runner’s High
When it comes to workouts that struggle with depression, aerobic and cardio exercises have the supremacy. “To date, the strongest evidence seems to prop aerobic exercise,” says Dr. Muzina. While the right “dose” of depression-fighting exercise is open to dispute, some experts propose 20 to 30 minutes most days of the week. A recent review of numerous scientific studies found no relationship between the intensity level of the exercise and its emotional benefit — so simply moving more is a great start.
Ever heard of runner’s high? “The most concrete instance of exercise warning certain brain chemicals is the runner’s high that many athletes report experiencing once crossing a specific threshold of effort while running,” explains Muzina. That euphory is due to the liberate of endorphins in the brain in response to continuous physical activity.
“Endorphins are our body’s natural morphine and, when released by special glands in our brains, they can produce a feeling of health or gladness and also decrease pain levels.”
Build Your Muscles
Boost your strength, boost your happiness? A recent study of 45 stroke survivors with depression found that a 10-week strength training program helped decreased symptoms of depression (among many other benefits).
“Strength training is about mastery and control,” says Leslie Seppinni who is a Ph.D. and a clinical psychologist, and family therapist in Beverly Hills. “It requires full attention and concentration. More importantly, people can see the results, the outline of the muscles forming, from devotion and training.”
Just make sure to start slowly and use the assistance of a personal trainer if needed.
Become a Yogi
Ohm — in a study of 65 women with depression and anxiety, the 34 women who took a yoga class twice a week for two months showed an important reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms, as compared with the 31 women who were not in the class.
“Eastern traditions such as yoga have a great antidepressant effect in that they improve flexibility; comprise mindfulness, which breaks up repeated negative thoughts; increase strength; make you aware of your breathing; improve balance; and include a meditative component,” explains Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Rosenthal recommends starting with a yoga class so you can make sure that you can get the movements and poses right.
Try Tai Chi
Like yoga, the slow, gentle movements of tai chi are another Eastern tradition that might help you recover from depression or major depressive disorder.
In a study of 14 elderly Chinese patients with depression, those who used tai chi for three months showed an important improvement in their symptoms of depression. The researchers theorized that the social aspects of tai chi, which is done in group settings, may have also played a role in its effectiveness.
Get Your Walk On
Putting one foot in front of the other can be the trick to feeling better – because walking is an aerobic exercise suitable for almost anyone. All you have to do is a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes and you’re ready to go.
“Practical wisdom shows that doing something is better than doing nothing in terms of physical activity,” explains Muzina. If depression has made you motionless, start slowly and gradually increase time and distance.
Go Play Outside
If you enjoy being outdoors, even simple activities such as gardening, throwing balls with your kids, or washing your car can also benefit you. Because sunlight stimulates our serotonin levels (in the dark, cold months, a drop in serotonin is associated with seasonal affective disorder or SAD), healthy sunlight has been shown to increase mood.
“Just moving your body inside or out is exercise,” says Shoshana Bennett who is Ph.D. and a clinical psychologist and author of Postpartum Depression for Dummies. “Choose whatever works for you, depending on your work level, energy, and preferences.”
Do you want something super simple that will free you from fear – at least temporarily? Be bounce.
“You don’t have to jump, but bend your knees and jump as fast as you can for a few minutes,” says Bennett. “This is an easy way to oxygenate your brain and get some endorphins flowing.”
So, we answered a part of the question- “Can diet and exercise cure depression?”
Can Diet Cure Depression?
Now let’s answer the dietary part of the question “can diet and exercise cure depression?”.
Science also confirms that food can be a powerful tool for people struggling with depression and anxiety.
Anika Knüppel who is a researcher and Ph.D. says that “”Changing your diet can be a great addition to traditional treatments like CBT and medicine, and at the same time it costs less and can be a great way to take care of yourself.”
There are two nutritional ways that can help mental health: by increasing healthy habits and decreasing unhealthy ones. For the best result, you must do both, says Knüppel.
Try It: Mediterranean Diet
- Fix your starch with whole grains and legumes.
- Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Focus on eating fatty fish such as salmon or albacore tuna instead of red meat.
- Add healthy oils such as raw nuts and olive oil.
- Enjoy desserts and wine in moderation.
The Mediterranean diet is more about what you add — fresh fruits and vegetables, protein-rich legumes, fatty fish, and olive oil (high in omega-3s).
One study looked at 166 people who were clinically depressed, some of whom had been treated with medication. The researchers found that after eating a modified Mediterranean diet for 12 weeks, the participants’ symptoms were significantly better.
A previous study from 2011 found that when medical students increased their omega-3 fatty acid intake, their anxiety decreased by 20 percent (although there was no change in depression). In 2016, Spanish researchers found that people who followed the Mediterranean lifestyle most closely were 50 percent less likely to develop depression than those who did not follow the diet.
Try It: DASH Diet
- Consume whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.
- Get protein from chicken, fish, and nuts.
- Pass to low-fat or nonfat dairy products.
- Restrict sweets, sugary drinks, saturated fats, and alcohol.
Alternatively, the DASH diet is about what you’re taking out, namely sugar.
A 2017 study conducted by Knüppel analyzed the sugar intake of more than 23,000 people. They found that men who ate the most sugar — 67 or more grams a day, which is 17 teaspoons of sugar (or just under two cans of Coke) — were 23 percent more likely to develop depression or anxiety over five years compared to those in the bottom third who logged less than 40 grams a day (10 teaspoons).
And new research from Rush University Medical Center (which will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology) reports that among older adults, those who closely followed the DASH diet were less likely to develop depression for six-and-a-half years compared to those who followed a Western diet.
The Connection Between Food and Mental Health
Biologically, we don’t have all the responses behind anxiety and depression, Knüppel says, so there’s no obvious reason changing your diet can change your mood.
But we know a few things: “Vitamins in the body help the function of enzymes that enable reactions such as serotonin synthesis, which plays an important role in our happiness,” she explains.
Meanwhile, a lot of sugar has been found to reduce a protein that is a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) involved in the development of depression and anxiety.
There is also new research suggesting that our gut plays an important role in mental health.
“Microorganisms in our gut can communicate with the brain and various systems that may play a role in depression and anxiety, and the composition of the gut microbiota is affected by nutrition,” adds Knüppel.
“When you medicate depression, the real” magic “chemical ingredients are perhaps 15 percent important. Thase is really the process of working with a doctor and finding the motivation to recognize the problem and take steps to correct it,” says Thase.
“You can get that much benefit in a non-medication intervention that includes diet, exercise, and talking to someone,” he thinks.
Knüppel agrees: “Diet is a wonderful way of active self-care and self-love — a key in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is often used to treat anxiety and depression. I believe it is a great step to consider yourself worthy of self-care and therefore worthy of being fed nutritious food.”
Why certain foods are mood-boosting
- Some enzymes found in food increase serotonin levels.
- Sugar is associated with depression and anxiety.
- Emerging science shows gut health plays a role in anxiety.
- Eating healthy foods is a great way to practice self-care, and is important in CBT.
- Taking active steps to eat a nutritious diet can increase motivation.
That’s all, about this quetion “can diet and exercise cure depression?”.