Foods to Eat in the Winter to Improve Mental Health
Seasonal Affective Disorder tends to take place in the winter where you exhibit a depression with feelings of hopelessness, social withdrawal, lack of concentration, and fatigue because of the changing of the seasons. To beat this depression, it is important to get as much Vitamin D as possible that the sky is not exhibiting around this time as well as exercising when it seems like the cold weather is stopping you. Changes in diet can change the brain chemically and physiologically which can lead to a changed behavior. Nutrition is an important part of recovery so eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you beat the symptoms of SAD.
The lean proteins in salmon carry amino acids that affect mood as well as a great source of energy to get rid of fatigue. Omega 3s can influence mood as well which can be found in flax seeds and walnuts as well as salmon. Bring a bag of berries with you just in case you are in stressful situations. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries can release cortisol which is produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisol goes to the hippocampus of the brain which has the power to store memories, help with navigation, and give emotional responses. According to research done by UCLA, having too much sugar and not enough Omega 3s can change and slow the brain. Having sugar may taste good but having a sugar crash can make you feel worse.
Folic acid creates serotonin which can affect your mood which will be found in foods such as leafy greens, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, lentils, fortified cereals, oranges, soybeans, and black-eyed peas. Low levels of Vitamin B-12 can be associated with depression. Foods with high levels of B-12 include clams, lean beef, oysters, wild salmon, crab, yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, milk, and fortified cereals. Do not let the lack of sunlight stop you from getting Vitamin D as your body makes it with foods that have cholesterol such as milk, mushrooms, egg yolks, fish with bones, and supplements. Having foods with high polyphenols can improve mood as well when you eat dark chocolate. Turkey consists of tryptophan and melatonin which are chemicals that can calm and relax you. Bananas also have tryptophan as well as carbs, potassium, and magnesium to help improve sleep and anxiety which also happen to be symptoms of SAD. Trying these foods can help avoid the winter blues.
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Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked | September 26, 2020