Foods to Consume to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Several foods can combat seasonal affective disorder. (Photo via Pexels/Daniel Reche)
Several foods can combat seasonal affective disorder. (Photo via Pexels/Daniel Reche)

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is basically a type of depression that's triggered by a change in season, and usually starts and ends during the same time each year. This condition is quite common among women. However, men too can suffer from SAD, which can also be referred to as winter depression or winter blues, as it commonly happens during the winter months.

The major symptoms include low self-esteem, fatigue, anxiety, sadness, panic attacks, and obsessiveness or irritability over little things. People with SAD may also experience sleep problems due to lack of serotonin. Serotonin is the primary mood-enhancing chemical in the body that regulates the feeling of well-being, happiness and hunger.

So, if you feel sad or feel like staying alone in your room during the cold winter months, chances are that it could be seasonal affective depression. While seasonal affective disorder treatments include medications, exercise, talk, and light therapy, certain foods can potentially help combat this condition. Yes, you heard that right – several foods can improve your mood, make you less irritable, and overall help you feel happy and energetic.


Foods to help with seasonal affective disorder

Panic attacks are a symptom of SAD. (Photo via Pexels/Nathan Cowley)
Panic attacks are a symptom of SAD. (Photo via Pexels/Nathan Cowley)

Here’s a look at some of the most incredible food options to include in your diet to combat seasonal affective disorder:

Berry

Berries such as raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are among some great foods that help prevent the release of cortisol and help with SAD.

When you're stressed, the cortisol heads towards the region of the brain that provides emotional responses and stores memories, making you sadder and more anxious. Consuming berries when under stress can prevent cortisol levels from rising, helping control your emotions.

Omega-3 fatty acid

Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. (Photo via Pexels/Pixabay)
Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. (Photo via Pexels/Pixabay)

Omega-3 fatty acids are another great option to combat the seasonal affective disorder.

Foods that contain the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are walnuts, salmon, and flaxseeds. Studies suggest that consuming omega-3 fatty acid foods can improve mood and lower chances of experiencing symptoms of depression.

Lean protein

Lean proteins such as lean beef, plain greek yogurt, and white-fleshed fish consist of amino acids that can positively improve mood and make you happy. Lean proteins are also one of the best sources of energy, which you will surely need when in stress or winter depression.

Whole grain

Whole grain foods such as bread, pasta, and rice are loaded with folate and may help manage symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Studies suggest that consuming whole grain items may reduce mood swings and help you fight stress.

Green leafy vegetable

Consuming dark green leafy vegetables can improve your mood. (Photo via Pexels/Anna Guerrero)
Consuming dark green leafy vegetables can improve your mood. (Photo via Pexels/Anna Guerrero)

Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, collards, bok choy, and mustard greens are loaded with vitamin B and are helpful in combating symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

These vegetables are very important for the optimum functioning of the brain and are also considered best to boost energy level. Leafy vegetables such as the ones mentioned here can be eaten raw, cooked with other vegetables, or can be consumed as side dishes.


While consuming the foods mentioned above may lead to reduced symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, exercising and communicating with your loved ones can also be very useful.

It's also important to note that dietary changes should always be made under the supervision of a doctor, especially if you're on any kind of medication. So, for a more result-worthy change in your condition, consult a doctor, and discuss what options would be safe for you.

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Edited by Ruby Khanna