Exercise as a Treatment for Depression

Watch the video instead on ‘exercise vs. drugs for depression’.

We’ve known for decades that even a single bout of exercise can elevate our mood, but could it be enough to be used as a treatment for major depression?

We’ve known that physical activity has been associated with decreased symptoms of depression. For example, if you look at a cross-section of 8,000 people across the country, those that exercised regularly were less likely to have a major depression diagnosis. That’s just a snapshot in time, though. In that study, the researcher openly acknowledges this may be a case of reverse causation. Maybe exercise didn’t cut down on depression, maybe depression cut down on exercise. The reason depression may be associated with low physical activity is that people may feel too lousy to get out of bed. What we’ve needed was an interventional study where you take people who are already depressed and randomize them into an exercise intervention.

That is what researchers from Duke University Medical Center did. They randomized men and women over age 50 with major depression to two groups: one who did an aerobic exercise program for four months and another that took an antidepressant drug called Zoloft. In my video Exercise vs. Drugs for Depression, you can see a graph of their changes. Before exercise, their Hamilton Depression scores were up around 18 (anything over seven is considered depressed). Within four months, the drug group came down to normal, which is exactly what the drugs are supposed to do. What about the exercise-only group, though? Exercise had the same powerful effect.

The researchers concluded that an exercise training program may be considered an alternative to antidepressants for treatment of depression in older persons, given that they’ve shown that a group program of aerobic exercise is a feasible and effective treatment for depression, at least for older people.

Not so fast, though.

A “group program?” They had the exercise group folks come in three times a week for a group class. Maybe the only reason the exercise group got better is because they were forced to get out of bed and interact with people—maybe it was the social stimulation and had nothing to do with the actual exercise? Before you could definitively say that exercise can work as well as drugs, what we would need to see is the same study, but with an additional group who exercised alone with no extra social interaction. And those same Duke researchers did just that.

They created the largest exercise trial of patients with major depression conducted to date, and not just including older folks, but other adults as well with three different treatment groups this time: a home exercise group in addition to the supervised group exercise and the drug group as before.

And, they all worked about just as well in terms of forcing the depression into remission. So, we can say with confidence that exercise is comparable to antidepressant medication in the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder.

Putting all the best studies together, researchers indicate that exercise at least has a moderate antidepressant effect, and at best, exercise has a large effect on reductions in depression symptoms and could be categorized as a very useful and powerful intervention. Unfortunately, while studies support the use of exercise as a treatment for depression, exercise is rarely prescribed as a treatment for this common and debilitating problem.


How Researchers Are Implementing Food To Treat Depression And Other Chronic Diseases

Ah, comfort food. Who doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with it? For me on a bad day, I find myself craving the perfect storm of fries, pizza, and ice cream. What I don’t realize as I’m dipping my fry into my ice cream is that I might experience an emotional low afterward that’s even worse than how I felt at the beginning. Actually, I’ve noticed that when I have fresh fruits and vegetables, I’m much more vibrant and happy and ready to accomplish the tasks throughout my day.

 That brings up the question: Can the food we eat have a drastic impact on our emotional health? More specifically, can a plant-based, vegan diet reverse symptoms of depression and improve emotional health?

There have been many studies done regarding the influence of diet on emotional health. For example, in January 2017, an issue of the medical journal BioMed Central (BMC) Medicine reported that a team of researchers led by Felice Jacka, an epidemiologist at Deakin University in Australia, studied the effect that diet had on the moods of individuals with major depression. The study had two groups: the initial group received counseling from a dietician and the second group received counseling from a positive social support caregiver.

The results indicated that those who ate a healthy diet were emotionally happier than those who received social support. Also shown was that an unhealthy diet high in processed and refined foods increased the risk for not only depression but other diseases as well. There have been many other studies revolving around this topic that support this research.

Nutritional psychiatry

“Nutritional psychiatry” is a recent development in the medical world, but it’s a rapidly growing research field. Understanding the effects that diet has on mental health is incredibly important – especially now – because there are so many chronic diseases that have become more prevalent because of the highly processed foods consumed by society.

Dr. Jacka is the co-founder of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research that aims to expand the field by using a multi-disciplinary approach to research connecting emotional and physical health on a new level. The Food and Mood Center was created by Dr. Jacka as a center for studies on how diet influences mental health. Because of the new studies that have been addressed, the American Psychiatric Association has begun to include presentations on nutritional psychiatry at their annual conferences.

Even though diet isn’t the only factor influencing mental health, researchers have found another way to prevent and treat depression. What is it? You guessed it, eating a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet doesn’t only promote good physical health, but it also shows promise in promoting emotional health and well-being. I think we can safely say that fruits and veggies should be the “happy food” to turn to when we’re having a bad day.

Here’s a recipe for a fruit smoothie from Nutriliving that is packed with fresh nutrition and will give you a bright boost to your day. Have a happy and healthy day!

Mood-Boosting Breakfast Blast 


  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 5 walnuts
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk


  • Add all ingredients to your blender and blend for 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  • Enjoy!

By Raeann Leal




Corona – How to boost your mental health in times of social distancing during COVID-19

In this video, the ENAD team put together the most imporant things to enhance your mental health and help you to get through this coronavirus crisis during a time of social isolation…

Probably the most spoken word of the year. Starting in China this virus travelled from one person to another, to all over the world. In order to get rid of this disease again, we are all limited in our every day life. If you are staying at home for such a long time, it may be natural to get frustrated that you cannot do everything you want.
We as an ENAD team put together 7 things that will enhance your mental health in order to get through this crisis.

1. Get closer to people at home

When life is very busy, we tend to have little time for each other, especially for the ones that are closest to us. This crisis is a chance to connect to our loved ones that live in our homes. So set aside your devices and talk to each other. If you are alone, it is important to stay connected to those who are your emotional support.

2. Increase your physical activity for at least an hour a day.

In some places, hiking on trails in the open air is not yet forbidden. Take advantage of the extra time you have now. Moving your body does not only benefit your apearing, it also produces serotonin and therefore enhances your happiness an strenghten your immunsystem to fight against coronavirus

3. Re-organize your house

Since you are at home this is the perfect opportunity to start working on making every room enjoyable and clean. Get rid of clutter, catch up on your email, rearrange your furniture, and consider how to pare down where you have excess. Setting a timer for 15 minutes at a time can be a great way to get start.

4. Expand your skills

Use your time to learn how to perform enjoyable and brain enhancing activities every day. Try a new recipie, learn to play an instrument, start singing, drawing or learn a new language. Stay away from screens as much as possible.

5. Plant a garden

Try growing your own food. Spending time in nature is important for your mental health. You can get seedlings from grocery stores, or purchase them online. Also: A garden doesn’t have to be a raised bed – raising plants in pots is still rewarding.

6. Quit keeping up with the latest COVID-19 news

It is exhausting to see the changes hour-by-hour. Because you are already doing your part, there is nothing more you can usefully do by keeping up with the latest statistics or politics. Dont waste your time and go do one of the other 5 things of this video.

7. Explore your spirituality

So often we do not have or take the time needed to evaluate the state of our own spirituality. You now have this golden opportunity apart from the hustle and bustle of normal life. Spend a thoughtful hour reading the bible or a spiritual book, praying or spend time evaluating what you believe. You can also take an online bible-study course in the link below. Thoughtful moments will bolster your mental wellbeing.

Go and try one of those 7 things today, if you are not already doing it, and take care of your mental health. Also, check out our social media and other articles about coronavirus on our website.



COVID-19 and your mind

Dr. Mark Sandoval, president of Uchee Pines Institute and Health Ministries director of the Gulf State Conference, explains the impact the mind has on developing infections from infectious diseases.

Beer Phytoestrogens

The Most Potent Phytoestrogen is in Beer

Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Why do alcoholic men develop so-called man boobs and other feminine traits? We know estrogens produce feminization, and our liver clears estrogens from the body. As such, the original theory was that alcohol-induced liver damage led to the retention of excess estrogens. The problem was that when researchers measured estrogen levels, they weren’t elevated. What’s more, even those with cirrhosis of the liver appeared to clear estrogens from the body normally, and men’s testicles started shrinking even before serious liver disease developed.

So, alternative explanations were considered. If it’s not due to estrogens produced endogenously, meaning within the body, maybe alcoholics are being exposed to “exogenous estrogenic substances from dietary sources”—perhaps from phytoestrogens in the plants that alcoholic beverages are made from. The discovery that plants could contain hormonal compounds was made back in 1951 by two Australian chemists charged with finding out the cause of an “epidemic of infertility in sheep that was ravaging their nation’s wool industry.” It took them ten years, but they finally figured out the cause: a compound called genistein, present in a type of clover, and the same phytoestrogen found in soybeans.

You can read about the dreaded clover disease on scare-mongering websites, but you’ll note they never talk about the difference in dose. To get as much as the sheep were getting from clover, you’d have to drink more than 1,000 cartons of soymilk a day or eat more than 8,000 soy burgers or about 800 pounds of tofu a day.

This is not to say you can’t overdo it. There are two case reports in the medical literature that describe feminizing effects associated with eating as few as 14 to 20 servings of soy foods a day. But at reasonable doses, or even considerably higher than the one or two servings a day Asian men eat, soy phytoestrogens do not exert feminizing effects on men.

So, back in 1951, we realized plant compounds could be estrogenic. Two German researchers realized that perhaps that’s why women who handle hops start menstruating, and, indeed, they found estrogenic activity in hops, which is the bittering agent used to make beer. They found trace amounts of the soy phytoestrogens, but in such tiny quantities that beer would not be expected to have an estrogenic effect. In 1999, however, a potent phytoestrogen called 8-prenylnaringenin was discovered in hops, which I discuss in my video The Most Potent Phytoestrogen Is in Beer. In fact, it’s the most potent phytoestrogen found to date, fifty times more potent than the genistein in soy, “provid[ing] an obvious explanation for the menstrual disturbances in female hop workers in the past.” Today, we have machines to pick our hops, so our only exposure is likely via beer consumption, but the levels in beer were found to be so low that they shouldn’t cause any concern.

Then in 2001, a study on a hops-containing “dietary supplement for breast enhancement” raised the concern that another phytoestrogen in hops called isoxanthohumol might be biotransformed by our liver into the more potent 8-PN, which would greatly augment the estrogenic effect of hops. This study was conducted on mice, though. Thankfully, a study using human estrogen receptors found no such liver transformation, so all seemed fine…until 2005. “[T] he liver is not the only transformation site inside the human body.” The human colon contains trillions of microorganisms with enormous metabolic potential. It’s like a whole separate organ within our body, with a hundred livers’ worth of metabolizing power. So, let’s effectively mix some beer with some poop and see what happens.

Indeed, up to a 90 percent conversion was achieved. Up to then, “the concentration of 8-PN in beer was considered too low to affect human health. However, these results show that the activity of the intestinal microbial community could more than 10-fold increase the exposure concentration.” This can explain why you can detect 8-PN in the urine of beer-drinkers for days: Their gut bacteria keep churning it out. Obviously, the amount of straight 8-PN in beer is not the only source of estrogen effects given this conversion. So, a decade ago, the question remained: Might drinking too much beer cause estrogenic effects and feminize men? See my video What Are the Effects of the Hops Phytoestrogen in Beer? for the update.

Source: https://nutritionfacts.org/2019/06/04/beer-phytoestrogens/

The cause of most diseases – a shocking truth

“When we let our inner pilot light radiate we heal from the inside out and it`s more powerful than anything that medicine can give you from the outside.”
Lissa Ranking is coming to an interesting conclusion about the true underlying cause of most of our health problems today. Even though we from ENAD do not endorse every point made in this TED-talk, we find it worth watching how brilliant people more and more come to the conclusion that there has to be something more out there to achieve complete healing, than the mere conventional approach to health.
As Christians we know what that “inner pilot light” is, that Dr Rankin is referring to. May God by the indwelling power of his Holy Spirit grant you exactly that healing that you were longing for so long.