Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is classed as a type of depression caused, as we now know, by the changing seasons. SAD is similar to other forms of depression, including feelings of hopelessness, lack of concentration, social withdrawal, and fatigue all brought on by the shorter days and lack of sunlight.
But there are ways to combat the feelings you may have experienced in the past and I hope my tips this week are helpful.
If you have had enough of feeling down during the Winter then it’s time to change your ways; it may seem difficult at first but if it works imagine how wonderful that will feel.
Treatments for SAD include medication, talk therapy, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, exercise, and eating a healthy diet. Yes it’s true – what you put in you get out and this can have a huge effect on your mood.
Put stodgy high saturated fats into your body and that’s what you will feel like, slow, overweight, lethargic and ultimately SAD!
Eating a healthy, nutritious diet as well as embracing Tips 1 & 2 will all begin to add up to being healthier and happier during the coming months. And it doesn’t need to be boring.
Here are some tips on foods to look out for when you can, be as seasonal as possible remembering that by adding colour (swede, pumpkin etc) will increase your antioxidants and the happy hormones will begin to flow.
Lean proteins have plenty of amino acids, which can help positively affect your mood. They are also a great source of energy, which will help you beat fatigue. Foods such as fresh organic or free-range chicken or turkey.
Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been praised for their health benefits, but they can also potentially influence your mood helping you feel more upbeat. Sources that contain the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds, walnuts, salmon and, of course, the more oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and trout.
Stress enhances depressive thoughts and exhausts your body. Try eating blueberries, raspberries and blackberries (all can be bought frozen and turned into a winter smoothie). Berries contain Cortisol and this can enhance better thoughts and feelings.
The effect of folic acid on the brain has given new insight into how it can boost your mood. There is evidence that the body uses it to create serotonin – a neurotransmitter that affects mood. You can get high amounts of folic acid in leafy greens, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, oranges, fortified cereals, lentils and pulses.
Like folic acid, low levels of vitamin B-12 in the blood are associated with depression. There are lots of tasty ways to fit it into your diet. Food sources of vitamin B-12 include lean beef, wild salmon, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, and fortified cereals.
Vitamin D (of course!)
Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because your body can make it by using cholesterol and absorbing natural sunshine. Our mood can be affected by just ten minutes of sun exposure. Your body can also absorb vitamin D through food but a supplement once a day will ensure you get your daily dose. But you can’t beat a boost of natural daylight.
Food sources of vitamin D include milk, egg yolks, and oily fish that have bones.
Well a treat now and then can also boost your mood and chocolate has always been a tasty and good way to self-medicate through down times. But it needs to be dark chocolate.
When you are feeling down, pick up a bar with the highest cocoa content you can find, but remember moderation, you don’t need the whole bar, save some for that rainy day!
Bananas contain tryptophan, carbohydrates, and the potassium in bananas help fuel your brain. Magnesium, also found in bananas, may improve sleep and reduce anxiety — two symptoms of seasonal depression.
Come back again tomorrow and tap into Tip 4 – Setting New Goals.