As the days get shorter and darker, many people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  The less sunlight there is, the darker your mood gets. The worse SAD becomes. 

Are there any foods that can improve your mood?

There are foods for seasonal affective disorder that help improve mood. These foods help energize your body, lift brain fog, and fight depression and anxiety. 

1. Protein


Foods such as chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, and lean beef can make you more alert, satisfied and energetic. My favorite type of protein is one that includes Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega- 3 fatty acids are mood boosters on their own. Studies show that people who eat Omega – 3 fatty acids (eggs, fish, and nuts…) have decreased incidence of depression. Choosing Omega-3 eggs are the best choice because they are the most absorbable protein to nourish your body, your mind, and satisfy your hunger. Walnuts and cashews are the best nuts to choose when feeling blue as they contain omega3 fatty acids and tryptophan (the precursor for serotonin- the happy neurotransmitter).

2. Complex Carbohydrates (whole grains)


Some of us, when we are depressed, reach for carbohydrates (breads, bagels, pasta); surprisingly there is a physiological reason for that and why we crave these types of foods. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains can increase your serotonin levels to keep you calm.  Perhaps reaching for these types of foods is our body’s way of instinctively trying to improve our mood. What’s interesting is one study on weight loss, showed that people on a low carb diet lost the same amount of weight as high carb dieters but were more irritable, negative and experienced overall bad mood. This is where the expression “hangry” comes from. So the next time you feel depressed, don’t beat yourself up too much for going for that bagel to boost your mood. Just don’t over indulge! Choosing a whole grain or flax seed bagel can make you feel great without the guilt.

3. Vitamin B12 and Folate (Folic Acid) are two vitamins that improve your mood


Folate is important for energy production in the body. Incorporating folate in your diet can increase your energy. You can find folate in fortified cereals, legumes, lentils, soybeans, and wheat germ. Vitamin B12 is also essential to combat fatigue and fight anemia. You can find it in shellfish, eggs, yogurt and cottage cheese.

4. The more colour in your diet the better you will feel


Research shows that people who eat a plant based diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables are happier. The antioxidants and phytonutrients boost immunity, which allows your mind and body to remain healthy. Fighting off those free radicals is one way to fight depression. So enjoy your berries, melons and tomatoes all year around.

The last question, is what to brew?

5. Both green tea and coffee have mood boosting appeal


Studies show that people who drink green tea experience less symptoms of depression. Unfortunately, a person has to drink four cups per day to have the most benefits. Coffee, on the other hand, can boost your mood in just one cup. The drawback is that drinking too much coffee has been associated with anxiety and jitters.

May I suggest the next time you are feeling a lull in your day, try having whole grain crackers with light cream cheese and smoked salmon with a cup of green tea to boost your spirits.

Here’s to eating well.

Original post by Tracy Satov

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