Top 3 Ways to Combat Depression

Top 3 Ways to Combat Depression

While it won’t happen over night, small baby steps and positive choices each day set the stage for breaking out of a mental and emotional slump.

A Strong Social Network (no, I’m not talking about your Facebook page!)

Isolation and loneliness exacerbate depression, which makes healthy social relationships an important component of recovery. Research shows a strong correlation between social networks and well-being. Those who are active in nurturing relationships tend to live longer, respond better to stress, have stronger immune and cardiovascular health, and are better able to fend off depression. Be careful, however! Just as friends and family can instill healthful habits, they can also instill not-so healthful ones. Smokers, drinkers, and unhealthful eaters tend to roam in packs. The key is to choose who you spend time with wisely; find people who help you thrive, feel good about yourself, and make you smile.

Get Moving

Exercise induces physiological and psychological mechanisms that can enhance your mood, reduce stress, fight fatigue, and elevate self-esteem—all things that can have a positive effect on depression. Those who have been diagnosed with clinical depression describe exercise as "the most important element in comprehensive treatment programs for depression." It is still unclear exactly why exercise is such a potent remedy, but evidence suggests that physical activity triggers new cell growth in the brain and increases the mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. All activities are beneficial, however continuous, rhythmic movements such as yoga, walking, swimming, and biking have shown to be most sustainable and effective as an antidepressant.

Mood and Energy Lifting Foods

What you eat and when you eat directly affects how you feel. Never deprive yourself when you are hungry; maintaining blood sugar balance is the first line of defense against irritability and lethargy. Choose whole foods over refined packaged products or sugary treats. Aim to consume your energy-boosting carbohydrates in complex form. High fiber foods such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, berries, veggies, and serotonin boosting bananas are excellent additions to a mood enhancing NutriBlast. The B vitamins help turn the food you eat into energy – choose folate-rich leafy greens, beans and lentils. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, avocados and flax seed can also give your mood a boost.

Registered Dietitian

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