Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that changes people’s moods based on changing seasons. Symptoms usually are the most harmful around fall and peak during the winter months. Symptoms of SAD are similar to other forms of depression, including feelings of hopelessness, difficulty with focus, social disinterest, and exhaustion.
Treatments for SAD typically include prescription meds, behavioral therapy, physical exercises and most importantly, a clean diet. Here are some of the foods we’ve found that help boost moods in the fall and winter months.
1. Lean Meats
Salmon is very rich in lean proteins. While a thick-cut steak is tasty, the high saturated fat content may not be good for your mood or your body. Other lean-cut meats, however, carry plenty of amino acids, which may positively affect your mood. Lean proteins also boost energy, which is something you’ll need to help beat fatigue.
Stress exacerbates depression symptoms and drains the body. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries may help prevent the release of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland.
During stressful situations, cortisol heads toward your hippocampus, a major portion of the brain that stores memories, provides emotional responses and helps with navigation. Keep berries in your bag to combat stress when it hits.
3. Folic Acid
Researchers have claimed that folic acid can boost the mood. There’s some evidence that the body uses it to increase serotonin levels — a neurotransmitter that affects mood — but there’s no definitive evidence yet as to how it works. Including it in your diet is a good idea nonetheless.
Folic acid can be found abundantly in leafy greens, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, oranges, fortified cereals, lentils, black-eyed peas, and soybeans.
4. Vitamin D
Known as the “sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D is produced in the body by using cholesterol and absorbing natural sunshine. Research has stated that your mood may improve with as little as 10 minutes of sun exposure per day, which speaks to why light therapy is an important treatment for SAD.
Some great food sources for Vitamin D include milk, egg yolks, mushrooms, and fish that have bones. You can also get vitamin D in