Change your lifestyle to impact your mental health

Comment: Over the years I have seen clients who experience a wide range of concerns, they are sometimes surprised when I focus on the basics of health –  nutrition, exercise, sleep, substance use, stress management. There is a complex relationship between these factors and mental health and it is often a “chicken and the egg” issue of which comes first. The bottom line is that we are one system  – mental health is supported by physical health and vice versa. This short article from the conversation highlights the importance of lifestyle medicine.

Remember: For physical health concerns, the first point of call should be your local doctor.

The majority of Americans are stressedsleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle “medicines” that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.

Lifestyle medicine is the clinical application of healthy behaviors to prevent, treat and reverse disease. More than ever, research underscores that the “pills” today’s physician should be prescribing for patients are the six domains of lifestyle medicine: whole food plant-based eating, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, addiction reduction or elimination, and positive psychology and social connection.

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Nutrition and the mind

Comment: a Sydney Morning Herald article on gut health and potential links to the mind:

What is emerging, however, is the growing link between gut health (measured by diversity of microbiome) and certain mental health conditions such as depression. Head of the Nutraceutical Research stream at Deakin University’s Food & Mood Centre, Dr Wolf Marx, says that a growing library of evidence points to the “bacteria from our gut seeming to have anti-inflammatory properties that can influence our mood.”

Click here for link to original article

Lifestyle and Dementia

Comment: As we get older forgetfulness can generate anxiety about underlying cognitive decline. There has been an on going debate about whether lifestyle changes could impact upon cognitive decline. A recent Australian study adds to the debate and supports the view that lifestyle change is potentially useful in slowing cognitive decline.

Some experts argue that about 50 per cent of dementia is preventable through things like maximising education early in life, keeping your blood pressure down, not smoking, having a good diet, avoiding diabetes and obesity, reasonably intense exercise and maintaining a good social network. Well, a consortium of Australian universities and research centres have just published the results of a randomised trial into a cocktail of non-drug interventions to see if they help people whose thinking and memory are impaired or declining.

Click here to the link of an ABC news broadcast with Dr Norman Swan interviewing Professor Anstey.