Seasonal affective disorder (SAD ) is an annually occurring state of low mood and spirits, thought to be triggered by the reduced daylight hours of the colder months. While the mechanism behind SAD is not fully understood, there are several ways we can help ourselves combat SAD.
Good strategies include using vitamin D-rich foods such as oily fish, eggs, and butter, and taking a vitamin D supplement during the winter months. Increase antioxidant intake with broccoli, red peppers, and berries. Up your intake of the B vitamins to support brain function and energy production with lentils, spinach, and nutritional yeast.
Reduce coffee, sugar, and alcohol (they deplete nutrients and unbalance blood sugar ) which can lower mood. Stay away from trans-fats and excessive omega 6 found in processed foods and vegetable oils.
Two out of three SAD sufferers respond well to light therapy. Invest in a certified quality light box with the highest LUX (intensity of visible light ) rating you can afford.
Exercise is therapeutic, especially outdoors, but any exercise is helpful; try hiking, rowing, or cross fit.
St John’s wort herb can offer support with SAD. A meta-study published by the Cochrane Review Group found St John’s wort superior to a placebo. Consult with your GP or healthcare professional for dose and suitability as St John’s wort can interact with certain medications.
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