Health experts have long insisted that the benefits of exercising daily are multiple. Besides helping you stay fit, exercising daily also helps regulate mood as it is said to release stress-busting hormones. A new research study by Massachusetts General Hospital has reaffirmed the belief that exercise may help alleviate symptoms of depression. The study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, looked at whether or not physical activity had a ‘potential causal role in reducing risk for depression’. The results of the research strongly indicated that exercise and physical activity can be used as an effective preventive strategy against depression. The study is titled “Assessment of Bidirectional Relationships Between Physical Activity and Depression Among Adults” and includes results collated using the genetic data of 300,000 adults.
“Increasing evidence shows that physical activity is associated with reduced risk for depression, pointing to a potential modifiable target for prevention”, said the study, adding, “However, the causality and direction of this association are not clear; physical activity may protect against depression, and/or depression may result in decreased physical activity.” The research study claims to have produced the ‘strongest evidence yet’ that exercise has protective benefits against depression. The researchers have concluded that people with higher levels of physical activity have lower odds of suffering from depressive disorders. The research also showed that replacing sedentary activities with a mere 15 minutes of rigorous physical activities may reduce risk of depression by a significant 26 per cent.
“Findings point to the importance of objective measurement of physical activity in epidemiologic studies of mental health and support the hypothesis that enhancing physical activity may be an effective prevention strategy for depression”, said the study in conclusion. Diet may also play a role in regulating symptoms of depression.
Here are some foods that may help improve mood and regulate depressive symptoms:
1. Fatty Fish: The presence of omega-3 fatty acids makes fatty fish great for reducing depressive symptoms.
2. Seeds and Nuts: The tryptophan present in walnuts, almonds and some seeds may help depression patients.
3. Cruciferous Veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous veggies are great for your gut health, which is linked with the release of mood-improving hormones.
4. Yogurt: Probiotics like yogurt also contribute towards gut health.
5. Blueberries: The anthocyanins present in blue, purple and red-coloured fruits and veggies make them great for boosting mood.