According to the World Health Organization, approximately 4% of the population worldwide suffers from depression. Their number is estimated to be approximately 280 million.
Depression may be linked to your genetic makeup, but a study published in Nature Mental Health found that lifestyle choices may play a bigger role than your DNA.
Barbara Sahakian, professor of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge and co-author of the study, said in a press statement: ) We showed that a healthy lifestyle is potentially more important. ”
Over nine years, researchers studied 287,282 people in UK Biobank, of whom 13,000 had experienced depression. Their study highlighted seven lifestyle habits that, if practiced, reduce the risk of depression.
- healthy diet.
- Keep alcohol intake to a minimum.
- Lack of smoking.
- good sleep.
- Reduces sedentary behavior.
- Frequent social connections.
Participants in this study were divided into three categories based on lifestyle: intermediate, favorable, and unfavorable. “People in the intermediate group were 41% less likely to develop depression compared to people in the disadvantaged group. People in the favorable group were 57% less likely to develop depression.” ” reported Medical News Today.
What causes depression?
The National Health Service said there is no single cause of depression, but it can be caused by a variety of factors that make people more susceptible to depression.
“Some of these lifestyle factors are something we have some control over, so trying to find ways to improve them, like getting a good night’s sleep and going out to see friends, etc. can make a huge difference.’ Contribute to people’s lives,” Sahakian said in a press statement.
“Our not-so-distant ancestors lived a lifestyle that involved regular physical activity, less sedentary behavior, plenty of social interaction, a healthy diet, and often low to moderate alcohol consumption. I had it,” clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manley told Medical News Today. “Even smoking is a relatively modern phenomenon. It stands to reason that an activity that has allowed humans to survive for a long time is necessary for our overall well-being. It should come as no surprise that research continues to show that deviating from the healthy lifestyle habits of our ancestors negatively impacts our overall health.”
What lifestyle habits are most effective?
Of all the factors investigated in this study, a good night’s sleep had the greatest impact on depression.
Researchers determined what percentage of each factor reduced the risk of depression if participants incorporated each factor into their lifestyle.
- A healthy diet reduced risk by 6%.
- Minimizing alcohol intake reduced risk by 11%.
- Not smoking reduced the risk by 20%.
- Good sleep reduced risk by 22%.
- Exercise reduced risk by 14%.
- Reducing sedentary behavior reduced risk by 13%.
- Frequent social connections reduced risk by 18%.
Dr Christel Langley, from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, said: “It’s not only good for our brain health and cognition, but also indirectly by promoting a healthier immune system and better metabolism,” according to a press statement.