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Scientists Suggest That Improper Diet Can Cause Depression

Scientists Suggest That Improper Diet Can Cause Depression

Depression may occur due to an improper and unhealthy diet in many people, according to latest research. In recent years, scientist conducted a variety of studies on the potential relationship between depression and improper diets. They found that nutrition has an increased effect on the human body, as well as emotional states related to depression.

Naturally Combatting the Cause of Depression

According to recent studies, diets high in fats and sugars may be a factor that causes depression in many people. These types of diets contribute to emotional and biological changes in our minds and bodies.

When we eat poorly, our bodies become deprived of essential nutrients. The human body recognizes, reacts, and regards nutrient deficiencies as a potential disease. In turn, the body releases proteins known as cytokines to try to protect the body and fight off the perceived intruder.

This natural and vital protection process is similar to how the body’s immune system works when trying to heal a physical wound that may cause inflammation. The brain receives signals when inflammation is detected.

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Chronic and extended health problems can easily turn into depression because of the negative thoughts people get when triggered by an illness. Physicians refer to this as sickness behavior, which is surprisingly similar to depression, where people are unwilling to be productive, eat well, or get out of bed.

For example, The Washington Post covered a story that included Jodi Corbett, a 47-year-old battling depression for more than twenty years. Jodi initiated an experimental diet that she believes took her off antidepressants. Jodi said she stopped eating food products containing gluten. Gluten is a protein composite found in rye, barley, wheat, and related grains. It took only one month for Jodi to rid herself of her lifelong depression and lose several pounds.

“It was like a veil lifted and I could see life more clearly. It changed everything.”

She added more about her success.

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“This was such a simple solution. I could have saved myself a lot of money and a lot of misery if someone had asked about my diet 15 years ago. My life could have been different.”

Jodi Corbett’s example is just the tip of the iceberg many researchers are exploring when it comes to food’s impact on the mind. For years, scientists focused on the mind being the essential cause of depression; however, new research has uncovered the possibility that a healthy diet can play an instrumental part in relieving depression in most people.

Diets That Make a Difference

Big Think reported the findings of a study comparing a western diet that contains more sugars and fat, to the Mediterranean diet predominantly comprised of vegetables, oils, and nuts.

“Those who lived almost exclusively on the traditional Mediterranean diet were about half as likely to develop depression over the period as those eating more unhealthy food; even when you control for things like education and economic status.”

Michael Berk is a professor of psychiatry at the Deakin University School of Medicine in Australia. He offered an explanation to The Washington Post on how diets affect our mental health.

“Traditional diets, the kinds of foods your grandmother would have recognized, have been associated with a lower risk of mental health issues. There’s lots of hype about the Mediterranean diet [fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, nuts, fish] but the traditional Norwegian diet [fish, shellfish, game, root vegetables, dairy products, whole-wheat bread] and the traditional Japanese diet [fish, tofu, rice] appear to be just as protective.”

University of California in Los Angeles, clinical psychologist George Slavich has studied depression for years. When discussing causes of depression, Dr. Slavich sees the body having more precedence over the mind.

He says, “I don’t even talk about it as a psychiatric condition anymore. It does involve psychology, but it also involves equal parts of biology and physical health.”

Today, treating depression with healthier diets is becoming more common. For instance, the U.S. Department of Defense initiated a trial program that delivers nutrient rich foods to soldiers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, claiming eating a healthy diet has proven to be as effective as preventative mental health counseling in preventing depression.

Not everyone is completely onboard in citing the body over the mind when it comes to depression. As with most healthcare professional, Dr. Berk supports an integrative approach to treating mental illness, including added traditional treatments, exercise, as well as experimenting with diet modifications. With respect to depression, Dr. Berk offers more.

“For a mood disorder like depression, there are hundreds if not thousands of risk pathways that all contribute to the disorder. Targeting one factor doesn’t target all the factors that cause someone to develop depression. That’s why you need to develop an integrated package of care as the norm.”

Most people agree that healthy and nutritional diets should be included in an eclectic and holistic approach to treating depression.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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