Life­style changes can help ease de­pres­sion

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS - Dr. Mehmet Oz hosts “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Buf­falo na­tive Dr. Mike Roizen is chief well­ness of­fi­cer of the Well­ness In­sti­tute at Cleve­land Clinic.

W il Wheaton may be your long­time fa­vorite be­cause of his role as Wes­ley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Gen­er­a­tion” or as him­self on “The Big Bang The­ory.” But what you may not know is that in 2018, the 46-year-old spoke at a National Al­liance on Men­tal Ill­ness con­fer­ence and de­clared: “I live with de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, the tag team cham­pi­ons of the World Wrestling with Men­tal Ill­ness Fed­er­a­tion.”

Chronic de­pres­sion af­fects around 8 per­cent of Amer­i­can adults, and it causes folks to have func­tional dif­fi­cul­ties at work and home more than any other chronic disease, in­clud­ing di­a­betes and arthri­tis. For­tu­nately, Wil has found ways to ease the bur­den. So can you.

If over a two-week pe­riod you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced changes in your mood and are hav­ing cog­ni­tive and phys­i­cal symp­toms – such as trou­ble sleep­ing or sleep­ing too much, ag­i­ta­tion, poor con­cen­tra­tion and prob­lems with com­mu­ni­ca­tion – talk to your doc­tor about get­ting ther­apy and med­i­cal at­ten­tion for your de­pres­sion. You can take charge of health be­hav­iors and turn your mood around.

Nu­tri­tional up­grades

A 2017 pa­per in Psy­chi­a­try Re­search looked at 21 stud­ies from 10 coun­tries and found mount­ing ev­i­dence that eating a diet loaded with “fruit, veg­eta­bles, whole grains, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and an­tiox­i­dants and low in­takes of an­i­mal foods was ap­par­ently as­so­ci­ated with a de­creased risk of de­pres­sion.” In Dr. Mike’s book “What to Eat When,” he sug­gests eating mood-lift­ing, omega-3-rich salmon and ocean trout, and peanuts, which are high in tryp­to­phan, a build­ing block of the pos­i­tive-mood hor­mone sero­tonin.

The re­searchers also found that eating an un­healthy Amer­i­can diet of red or pro­cessed meats, high-fat dairy, sweets and deep-fried pota­toes was as­so­ci­ated with in­creased risk of de­pres­sion. Makes sense. Those are highly in­flam­ma­tory foods and in­flam­ma­tion is re­lated to de­pres­sion.

In ad­di­tion, a re­cent pa­per in JAMA found that when those who were both obese and de­pressed were put on a weight-loss pro­gram with prob­lem-solving ther­apy for de­pres­sion – and, if in­di­cated, an­tide­pres­sants – they shed more pounds and re­duced de­pres­sion sig­nif­i­cantly.

Break­ing the di­a­betes-de­pres­sion link

More than 30 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have di­a­betes, and 25 per­cent of those folks will ex­pe­ri­ence de­pres­sion. Their symp­toms hap­pen more of­ten and last longer (92 weeks ver­sus 22 weeks) than in the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in Di­a­betes Care.

Re­search also in­di­cates that in­flam­ma­tion, as well as a poor diet, lack of ex­er­cise, skipped med­i­cal ap­point­ments and not fol­low­ing pre­scribed med­i­cal treat­ments may ac­count for the fact that peo­ple with de­pres­sion are more likely to de­velop di­a­betes. Ab­nor­mal bac­te­ria in your gut caused by bad food choices may pre­dis­pose you to both de­pres­sion and di­a­betes.

Be­ing aware of the dam­ag­ing duo can help, as can join­ing sup­port groups for di­a­betes and de­pres­sion, get­ting med­i­cal care for de­pres­sion and work­ing with a di­a­betes ed­u­ca­tor to help you stay on your di­a­betes treat­ment reg­i­men.

Stress man­age­ment

To ease de­pres­sion, try the one-two ap­proach: ex­er­cise and med­i­ta­tion.

Aer­o­bic ex­er­cise – 30 or more min­utes, five days a week – is proven to ease de­pres­sive symp­toms, re­duce lev­els of stress hor­mones and help con­trol di­a­betes, es­pe­cially when com­bined with smart nu­tri­tion. Daily med­i­ta­tion (go to share­ for in­struc­tions) can ease stress, which in turn re­duces the in­flam­ma­tion that’s as­so­ci­ated with de­pres­sion. We sug­gest two 10-minute ses­sions, morn­ing and evening.

In ad­di­tion, one study dis­cov­ered that peo­ple who prac­ticed mind­ful med­i­ta­tion­for 2½ hours a week in­creased their gray mat­ter den­sity, while an­other study found that just 30 min­utes a day in­creased gray mat­ter in the hip­pocam­pus, the brain area as­so­ci­ated with emo­tion, mem­ory and the au­to­nomic ner­vous sys­tem. Peo­ple who suf­fer from re­cur­rent de­pres­sion tend to have a smaller hip­pocam­pus.

De­pres­sion is a disease that can be treated with ther­apy, med­i­ca­tion and life­style changes. Take the op­por­tu­nity to en­joy the proven ben­e­fits.

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