5 Nutrients to Fight Seasonal Depression
Winter comes with fewer hours of sunlight and with it may appear seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
Here you have some nutrients and foods to incorporate into your diet to help you to improve your symptoms:
Low iron levels are linked to depression, likely because brain cells implicated in depression are known to absorb a lot of iron. Iron is found in animal meat, especially red meat, but also in beans/legumes and some vegetables. Broccoli and cauliflower are especially good because they are high in iron and vitamin C that helps the absorption of iron.
2. FOLATE FOODS
Low levels of folate are linked to higher risk and rates of depression. Folate, also known as vitamin B9, can be found in many plant-based foods such as dark leafy greens and lentils.
Most of your brain is made up of fat (60%), so these fatty acids are essential for proper functioning. They also are known to lower mental health risks and symptoms through their anti-inflammatory actions. You can find healthy fats in fish like salmon, nuts like walnuts, and seeds such as flax and chia.
4. FERMENTED FOODS/PROBIOTICS
A healthy gut is key for a healthy brain. Recent research has provided strong evidence for the role of the gut microbiome in brain function, behavior, and mental health. Fermented foods such as kefir, miso, and sauerkraut are full of probiotics (good bacteria).
5. DIETARY FIBER
Fiber is an important part of a healthy gut microbiome because it is the food for the good bacteria in the gut. It also lowers inflammation in the body and steadies blood sugar levels. Fiber is found in whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
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