It’s well known that exercise not only helps keep you mentally fit but can be an antidepressant as well. In fact, according to a study by James Blumenthal, Ph.D., of Duke University, a brisk thirty-minute walk around an athletic track three times a week may be just as effective in relieving the symptoms of major depression as the standard treatment of antidepressant medications. That’s why we suggested earlier that you get started on a walking regime right away.
Walking isn’t the only exercise that’s good for you, of course. Bicycling and swimming, for example, tend not to cause injuries. However, according to Alen Salerian, medical director of the Washington Psychiatric Center, walking may well be the best. After all, it’s what our bodies were made for. Hunter-gatherer women walked and carried children, food and firewood. Their men stalked prey for long distances, then sprinted for the kill.
Research has also shown that even moderate walking can have dramatic effects in terms of keeping the brain young. How much should you do? A half hour or more of walking a day is optimal. “Even a little is good but more is better,” Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told “BBC News Online.”
Despite what you may have heard or read, you’ll find no magic diet or food cure for depression and anxiety. However, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines have been found to have some benefits.
If you suffer from hypoglycemia, which is not uncommon for those with depression and anxiety, you will probably find that eating a number of small meals rather than two or three large ones will reduce or even eliminate hypoglycemia-related discomfort and mood swings. Since hunter-gatherers were mostly “grazers” rather than “gorgers,” this is the way our systems digest most easily. This mode of eating can also be beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome, which often accompanies depression.
On the whole, however, the best diet for overall health is balanced and varied, with an emphasis on fresh and whole food. As with everything else relating to your body, you need to learn what works best for you.
Source Credits: Creating Optimism: A Proven, 7-Step Program for Overcoming Depression, Based on the popular Uplift program, written by Bob Murray Ph. D., and Alicia Fortinberry, published by Mcgraw-Hill