Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects around a fifth of women during the dark and chilly months. Overeating, depression and fatigue are accompanied with deterioration in our mental health, meaning that we snap at those closest to us and just feel miserable. Thankfully, there are various ways to beat SAD. Diet can make a huge difference as it does with so many conditions. Here’s 9 Highly Nutritious Things You Can Eat to Effectively Beat SAD.
The general rules:
1. Lose White Carbohydrates
The mood swings associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder are caused by fluctuations in our blood sugar level. White carbs such as pasta and bread cause huge changes in our blood sugar level, which leave us feeling emotional and depressed at different stages throughout the day. Try replacing white carbohydrates with wholegrain choices – not only will it help you to beat the mood swings, but will also help us to retain energy.
2. Lots of Protein
You can suppress food cravings by eating healthy sources of protein, such as chicken, nuts and fish. Eggs for breakfast (with a slice of wholegrain bread) and a few nuts throughout the day will make you feel full up for longer. Chicken is a brilliant source of protein and amazingly versatile as an evening meal.
3. Remove the Stimulants
Although I’m just as reliant on coffee as the rest of you, a good way to combat SAD is to remove any caffeine-laden drinks as they cause us to stay up at night and depress our general mood. Alcohol is full of the types of sugar you’re trying to avoid in the carbs, so try limiting your drinking units throughout the week – a nice replacement for both coffee and wine can be a herbal tea.
4. Add Vitamin D to Your Diet
Vitamin D is important for both our physical and mental health. Sunlight contributes around 90% of our intake of Vitamin D during the summer months, so we need to find ways of introducing it into our diet during the dark winter. Fish, eggs and mushrooms are packed full of Vitamin D, as well as specialist products that include extra Vitamin D such as cheese and butter. There are so many products that are there to help you combat SAD!
Specific Foods to help beat SAD:
I know what you’re thinking – ahh, calories! However despite their high calorie content, avocados have proven to be one of the most effective mood boosting foods available. They are stocked with protein and also Vitamin B6, which helps us to retain energy and combats fatigue.
6. Sweet Potato
One of my favorite vegetables is sweet potato, which is why I love eating it all year round. It is much better than its cousin the regular potato, as its high level of folate helps to ensure we have a regulated blood sugar level.
Bananas are a good way to combat SAD because of the serotonin that they contain. The hormone has been dubbed the ‘feel-good hormone’ because of its effect it has on our mood. They’re also tasty and of course count as one of your five recommended fruit portions!
8. Natural Yoghurt
One of the most volatile symptoms of SAD is mood swings. Calcium deficiency is one of the associations made by nutritionists to explain irritability, anxiety and depression. Adding natural yoghurt to your diet will help as it’s calcium rich. It’s also packed with omega-3, another essential for good health. If you eat it with berries, you’ll get an extra hit of anti-oxidants or on cold wintery days mix it with your porridge for slow-release energy.
9. Leafy Greens
No- don’t groan! Leafy greens appear on so many “what’s good for you” lists simply because they are. Cruciferous (iron-rich) vegetables are excellent winter crops so are at their best when you need them most. A handful of broccoli, kale or spinach will help you beat SAD because they’ll boost energy levels and improve concentration. You’ll also get an extra fuel injection from the folate and B vitamins.
Hopefully, my list of 9 Highly Nutritious Things You Can Eat to Effectively Beat SAD will help you during the long winter months. We all feel the strain of the dark mornings and even darker evenings – sometimes it feels like we don’t get to see any daylight before it’s nighttime again. The food tips that I’ve given you here should help you beat SAD and the fatigue that it can bring. Please do help others and leave comments with any other suggestions on beating SAD.
Top Image Source: weheartit.com