If you’ve ever suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, you know that this form of depression is much worse than the run-of-the-mill winter blues. But if you would like to find easy ways to help ease the effects, there are many foods that might help SAD feel less daunting. Although there is no one diet proven to completely get rid of depression, some foods might help your mood improve a bit, at least until Daylight Savings Time kicks back in.
In a perfect world, a bag of Doritos would cure all ills, but of course all of these foods are of the natural and healthy variety. Plenty of starchy veggies and lean proteins are on the menu, along with nuts and some dairy. The variety of foods suggested to help ease SAD means that you’re certain to like at least a few of these offerings.
And as always, if your experience with SAD is particularly debilitating, or you just want a different approach to treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor for more advice. It’s a very real problem for many people, and you don’t have to suffer it alone. Until then, try out these dietary tweaks to see if your mood lightens. Fortunately, spring is right around the corner.
1. Sweet Potatoes
According to an article in The Mirror, sweet potatoes are a great mood-boosting food because they have a lot of folate. And as Psychology Today reports, a deficiency in folate has been linked to depression. So double down on some spuds to get this necessary vitamin.
The National Health Service recommends lentils as part of a healthy, SAD-busting diet. Like sweet potatoes, they help increase your intake of folate, the vitamin that may help keep depression at bay.
If the lack of sunshine has left you feeling a bit vitamin D deficient, then following the New York Post's advice and upping your egg consumption might help. Tuna fish and fortified orange juice are also good sources of the vitamin.
Starchy veggies such as squash may also help your serotonin levels, as Psychology Today notes, which could help ease SAD symptoms.
The New York Times notes that certain B vitamins may protect against depression, and lists chicken as a good source of Vitamin B-3. In fact, just one half of a chicken breast may contain well over half of the daily requirements of this important vitamin.
Deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to depression, as a study from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center reports. Four ounces of salmon can cover about half of your daily recommended intake.
8. Dark Chocolate
A study from the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that people who regularly consumed a dark chocolate drink reported better moods than people who received a placebo. This sounds like a great reason to enjoy chocolate a little more often.
Another study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found some correlation between patients with low vitamin B12 and depression. To help combat this, try some shellfish: just 100 grams of cooked clams have well over the daily recommended intake, and oysters and mussels are also fantastic sources.