Lifestyle Strategies for Health to increase immunity and help deal with depression and anxiety from: Jain R: Seven scientifically proven anti-inflammatory strategies for today’s modern mental health practice. Presented at: U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress; Oct. 21-24, 2016; San Antonio
    • Calorie restriction or intermittent fasting.A 2013 study in Psychiatry Research found that fasting or calorie restriction may improve mood and reduce anxiety, according to Jain. He recommended setting realistic goals, attempting to reduce daily calorie intake by 10% initially and considering increasing to 25% if successful. Regarding fasting, Jain suggested beginners experiment with brief fasting periods and then restricting intake to 300 to 500 calories on fasting days.
    • Jain discussed literature that indicated associations between sleep disorders, sleep deprivation and increased inflammatory signaling and preliminary research that suggests cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia may have sustained anti-inflammatory benefits.
    • There is strong evidence of the anti-inflammatory effect of exercise, according to Jain. He recommended a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day for adults at least 5 days per week.
    • Another excellent alternative is a high intensity “Four Minute workout” as taught by Dr Zach Bush on this podcast.
    • Increased socialization. Studies have shown associations between childhood social isolation and inflammation in adulthood, productive activities such as volunteering and lower inflammation, and lower social network scores and greater inflammation. Jain recommended several “macro” and “micro” improvements to socialization, including increasing the quality and quantity of social connections and smiling a lot.
    • Enhanced diet. A 2016 study in the Journal of Nutrition indicated associations between a Mediterranean diet and lower inflammation. Jain emphasized the importance of increasing vegetable, nut and fish intake and moderating red meat intake. He also recommended “micro” nutritional changes such as incorporating vitamin D, L-methylfolate, S-Adenosyl methionine (SAMe), and omega-3 fatty acids.
    • Jain cited several studies that indicated anti-inflammatory benefits of meditative practice and mindfulness. The WILD 5 wellness program may be a useful tool to educate patients about the importance of mindfulness, he said.
    • “Perhaps the greatest implication is that we psychiatrists and mental health clinicians need to become well-rounded full-body clinicians. We should never allow ourselves to believe that the brain is independent from the rest of the body,” Jain said in an interview. “Techniques that are good for brain and body health should be emphasized in practices. These include physical exercise, mindful meditation practice, healthy nutrition, and optimization of sleep amongst others.” – by Amanda Oldt


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