Over 20 years ago, after her second bout with cancer, Stephanie Wolfe was devastated. She thought, “What do I need to know that I don’t know, because I don’t ever want to go through this again!” She jumped into food science, health research, and began applying what she was learning.
Stephanie’s most recent scientific review focused on her prescription for living a long and strong life. She includes various therapeutic lifestyle changes that can improve your mood and lower your risk of depression. Check out her complete list of tips below:
(Please note these are in no specific order)
• Keep your weight in a healthy range. Do not rely solely on the scale numbers for this measurement. Your waist circumference is the best tool for this. Reduce your waist, reduce your risk of almost any disease.
• Be physically active / exercise daily. Any activity counts, but you need at least 30 minutes a day of regular exercise, plus some resistance-type strength training for building, maintaining and protecting muscle mass. Muscle burns 3x as many calories and fat – even while sleeping!
• Minimize processed and fast foods. You are what you eat, so don’t be cheap, easy or fake! The only benefit of food that fast, easy and cheap, is that it is fast, easy and cheap.
• Consume mostly whole grown, plant-based foods. This includes foods that are grown, not manufactured. These foods are usually very colorful (like the colors of the rainbow) and can be eaten raw (not that they must be eaten raw, but that they can be eaten raw).
• Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Stick with ones that have the most anti-inflammatory benefit. Examples include red onions, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, red/orange/yellow bell peppers, dark leafy greens, apples, red grapes, berries, cherries, oranges, and plums. Excess inflammation in the body has been linked to depression.
• Consume omega 3 rich foods. These include oily fish (salmon, mackerel, cod), walnuts, whole soy foods, hemp/chia/flax seeds, and small leafy greens. Fish oil supplements are an option for getting in optimal amounts of omega fats, but eating oily fish regularly is the very best way.
• Maintain optimal blood levels of vitamin D via safe sun exposure. Consuming vitamin D- rich foods (oily fish, fortified dairy products, mushrooms, eggs) and appropriate use of high- quality vitamin D supplements, in some cases, can be the perfect combination.
• Include magnesium-rich foods in your diet regularly. Examples are green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, and wheat germ.
• Increase your intake of tryptophan-rich foods. Foods high in tryptophan include turkey, whole soy foods, lean meats, and lots of grilled/baked fish.
• Increase your consumption of water. Your body needs half your body weight in water each and every day. (1/2 ounce of water per pound)
• Include folate-rich foods in your diet regularly. Green vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, wheat germ, any form of tomato product, oranges, nuts, seeds, whole soy foods, parsley, and beets are excellent sources.
• Include vitamin B-12 rich foods in your diet regularly. Examples are dairy products, fish, and shellfish (though I personally do not eat shellfish). If you are older than 50, get your level checked periodically. Supplementation is an option but be very careful.
• Avoid sugary beverages. Also stay away from any and all artificially sweetened (diet) sodas. You know they are all bad, bad, bad! You know the reasons why. Just stop it.
• Use anti-inflammatory herbs and spices regularly in your foods. Turmeric, curry, ginger, and rosemary are especially potent choices. Eat an abundant amount of anti-inflammatory foods and avoid inflammation-causing (processed) foods.
• Maintain positive relationships with family and friends. Get out (safely) with friends. Go see, go do!
• Engage in relaxation/mindfulness practices regularly. Try prayer, deep breathing, yoga, meditation, etc.
• Volunteer your time and talents. Give of yourself and your money to help those in need. It feels good.
• Don’t dwell on negatives. “Look down, go down.” I learned that from an instructor while taking my motorcycle driver’s license training. It works with bikes, motorcycles, and in life.
• Cultivate and nurture a relationship with the outdoors. Water, wind, soil, trees, paths. Spend time in nature regularly. Daily is best. A walk. Sit on the porch. Eat on the deck. Just step outside and take a deep breath.