When Tom Robbins penned the hippie novel “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” little did he know that his protagonist Sissy Hankshaw’s oversized thumbs could have been the source of inflammation that caused her unhappiness. “When I was younger,” she says, “I hitchhiked 127 hours without stopping -- across the continent twice in six days, and cooled my thumbs in both oceans.”
That salty dip may have made her prodigious digits feel better, but it’s not enough to quell the inflammation that causes some symptoms of depression. Seems fatigue, reduced appetite, withdrawal from interaction with others, and a general lack of motivation may result from inflammation in your body.
Here’s how you can lower your level of inflammation and ease some depressive symptoms with smart lifestyle changes.
1. Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon (Coho salmon has 523 mg per ounce) and ocean trout. Eat four servings of those fish weekly or take 900 mg of algal-based DHA omega-3 oil daily.
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2. ID sources of your body’s cranked-up inflammation. Have bleeding gums? Floss daily; get regular dental care. Overweight? Excess belly fat is highly inflammatory. Shed it by cutting red meat, processed and sugar- and syrup-added foods from your diet.
3. Manage your stress response. Excess stress hormones are inflammatory, so take 10,000 steps daily (exercise is a stress-reliever) and practice daily mindful mediation.
If you suffer from even occasional depression, these anti-inflammatory lifestyle changes may ease some symptoms while protecting your heart, brain and sex life from problems, too!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.