The Food That Helps Battle Depression

Elizabeth Bernstein wrote for the Wall Street Journal on April 2, 2018 that sychiatrists and therapists don’t often ask this question. But a growing body of research over the past decade shows that a healthy diet—high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and unprocessed lean red meat—can prevent depression. And an unhealthy diet—high in processed and refined foods—increases the risk for the disease in everyone, including children and teens.

Now recent studies show that a healthy diet may not only prevent depression, but could effectively treat it once it’s started.

Researchers, led by epidemiologist Felice Jacka of Australia’s Deakin University, looked at whether improving the diets of people with major depression would help improve their mood. They chose 67 people with depression for the study, some of whom were already being treated with antidepressants, some with psychotherapy, and some with both. Half of these people were given nutritional counseling from a dietitian, who helped them eat healthier. Half were given one-on-one social support—they were paired with someone to chat or play cards with—which is known to help people with depression.

After 12 weeks, the people who improved their diets showed significantly happier moods than those who received social support. And the people who improved their diets the most improved the most. The study was published in January 2017 in BMC Medicine. A second, larger study drew similar conclusions and showed that the boost in mood lasted six months. It was led by researchers at the University of South Australia and published in December 2017 in Nutritional Neuroscience.

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See Something, Say Something

Sometimes so much emphasis is given to eating right and working out that we forget that Mental Health is equally important to wellness as physical health and perhaps even more so when considering the health of a community.

I share this thought as a reaction to what appears to be an increase in acts of bullying. We live in a land where everyone is allowed to express their opinion on every topic imaginable from politics, to religion, to race, to weight. But many are forgetting that this should not be done in harsh and hurtful ways using aggressive behavior and intimidation.

These types of negative actions affect the targeted individual’s mental health and this is especially so in children. Research by stopbullying.gov indicates that persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair, as well as depression and anxiety, which can contribute to suicidal behavior.

So as we approach spring, a time for rebirth and renewal, now is a good time to make a personal commitment to take a stand and stop bullying. Have the courage to use the simple “See something, Say Something” approach. When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behavior over time.

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Building a Community of Support for New Moms

Here’s the problem: Not every mom has the opportunity to receive treatment.

Mothers of color are more likely to develop depression and anxiety than white mothers. This is because stress is a proven contributor, and minority communities often face more racial and socioeconomic stressors. They are also less likely to receive postpartum mental health treatment. The largest gaps exist in three areas: access, diagnosis, and community support.

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Effects of Food Bullying

Ingrid Donato, Chief, Mental Health Promotion Branch, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Jillian Lampert, The Emily Program and the Eating Disorders Coalition shared in womenshealth.gov that weight-based teasing and bullying have been identified as common experiences for youth, particularly for those who may be heavier. Children whose peers tease them about their weight are more likely to engage in disordered eating. Help raise awareness about weight-based bullying. Learn what signs to look for in a child or young person who may have an eating disorder and what can be done to help adolescents who are bullied and at risk of developing an eating disorder.

What is an eating disorder?

 

Eating disorders are complex mental disorders that cause a person to have excessive fear and anxiety about eating, body image, and weight gain that lead to unhealthy behaviors.

Three of the most commonly diagnosed eating disorders include binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and anorexia nervosa.

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Stay social and active in your community for healthy aging!

The National Institute on Aging suggests Engaging in social and productive activities you enjoy, like taking an art class or becoming a volunteer in your community or at your place of worship, may help to maintain your well-being as you get older.

Research tells us that older people with an active lifestyle:

  • Are less likely to develop certain diseases. Participating in hobbies and other social and leisure pursuits may lower risk for developing some health problems, including dementia.
  • Have a longer lifespan. One study showed that older adults who reported taking part in social activities (such as playing games, belonging to social groups, or traveling) or meaningful, productive activities (such as having a paid or unpaid job, or gardening) lived longer than people who did not. Researchers are further exploring this connection.

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Food allergy bullying is no laughing matter

Dr. Sai Nimmagadda shared with Advocate Children’s Hospital that there is a new trend that is endangering children with allergies called food allergy bullying.

Researchers estimate that 5.9 million children under age 18 in the United States have a food allergy. That’s 1 in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom. And more than 40 percent of them have experienced a severe or life-threatening reaction. That’s why food allergy bullying is so dangerous.

It is happening in schools all over the country. In a recent case near Pittsburgh, three teenagers were charged with intentionally exposing a classmate to pineapple despite knowing she had an allergy to the fruit. The student had to receive immediate treatment. And a 7-year-old Utah boy came home in tears after his classmates threatened to make him eat peanuts — knowing he was severely allergic. Others report having food thrown at them.

These incidents are not rare. A recent study by Mount Sinai Medical Center found that nearly a third of kids with a food allergy have experienced similar bullying. Read more

There is no escape

Dr. Sally Pepping from DuPage Healthcare Ltd. shared the following article, that first appeared on their blog,  with Healthy Lombard:I wanted to give you something valuable on a topic that affects EVERYONE. This is something that no one can escape. And that’s the ‘S’ word. Maybe not the one that people think of first when they hear that term, but I am talking about STRESS! Stress is an overwhelming issue in people because it affects their personal health so detrimentally, it’s effects trickle down to parenting, relationships, and of course their morale and performance at work!

Let me share a story that will help you to understand this completely. Imagine that you volunteer for a study. Upon arrival, you are hooked up to monitors for your heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. You are asked to sign a liability release waiver. You are then asked if you want to make any last phone calls because one of the risks is death. Upon entering the next room, you notice that all of the windows are welded shut with metal bars. You have no way of getting out. In the corner of the room, there’s a steel cage that you can’t see inside of. You do, however, hear loud growls and snarls coming from the cage. The cage begins to shake. Whatever is inside of it wants out NOW.

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Tips For Dealing With Loneliness When Living Alone

John Hawthorne, john@connex.digital,  shared that living on your own can either be one of the most rewarding experiences or a living nightmare for some. It all depends on your personality type along with your life experiences that have molded you into the person you are. Spending hours or even days at a time not having a conversation with another person can be damaging to the soul. Depression worldwide is on the rise and one of the most common causes is loneliness. I have put together this article to try to help if you are finding life difficult living on your own,

Get Out As Much As Possible
There is nothing more depressing than staring at the same four walls all day long. There is a huge world outside waiting to be explored and by getting out as much as possible you can discover the wonders of this amazing planet. Staying indoors for too long causes feelings of isolation and will increase your feelings of loneliness. Just by been outside around others will help cure this problem and make you feel more connected to society.

Pets
One of the most enjoyable and rewarding ways you can overcome feeling lonely when living alone is by buying a pet. The most popular are cats and dogs so depending on which type you prefer these will make the perfect companion. Unlike humans, they will be overjoyed to see you every day and sure you unconditional love. If you live in a dangerous area an investment in a dog could help reduce your fear as it will help to protect you should you need it.

Social Media
All of the main Facebook executives have apologized for making an addictive platform that is changing society for the world. Getting likes and comments for posts gives a dopamine hit which can become addictive if not kept under control. Social media increases the feeling lonely and can make you envious of all your friends who are not living on their own. Try to limit your time as much as possible and this will help you cope.
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How to talk to someone about their mental health

Nathan Lurz,  from Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, wrote that many people believe a family member or friend is struggling with a mental health issue but not telling them, according to a new study.

A survey involving more than 3,000 people across the nation by integrated health care system Kaiser Permanente suggests that 70 percent of those polled said society was more open to discussing mental health issues today compared to 10 years ago. More than three-quarters said they believed they were informed about mental health issues.

Among other findings, the survey highlighted the unfortunate reality of not being able to connect with a struggling family member or friend. While a majority of respondents said they had reached out to the person who was struggling, there are approaches that can help open yourself and the ones you care for to these sorts of conversations.

Sarah Katula, an Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., says conversations about the mental health of someone else should start with a casual check in with one another and pointing out behavior without accusation. Read more

Of Course Happy Is Healthy: What You should Know about Mood and Health

wellness-bannerAngela Metcalf, College of DuPage Nursing Student, shares that we have known for some time that dark moods like depression and anxiety may contribute to conditions like heart disease or cancer. However, research has recently identified a connection between a positive mood and wellness and this information was published in the January edition of the journal Emotion. Recently the positive reaction of awe was found to have the most resounding effect based on the research.

The research was conducted at the University of California- Berkeley where researchers included 94 students and collected a substance known of as IL-6 by using swabs to obtain saliva samples. IL-6 is a chemical that is produced in the body when dark or bad moods are present; when an individual has a positive mood, the chemical is at lower level. The researchers believe it is possible that IL-6 may be a contributing factor to conditions like heart disease and cancers.

So, the message from the researchers is, ‘Get Happy!’ The more positive emotions in your life the less IL-6 that released which is linked to bad moods.

Researchers recommend engaging in activities that will promote positive emotions such as:

  • Take a walk/run outside
  • Reminisce with a family member or friend
  • Spend more time with spouse/children/family/friends
  • Spend a night out with family/friends
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising often
  • Spend time with individual who facilitate positive emotions and limit time spent with persons who bring about negativity when possible