What Are The 5 Best Eating Habits To Fight Seasonal Depression? Here Is What To Know

Let’s find out ‘What Are The 5 Best Eating Habits To Fight Seasonal Depression?’ You may have seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder, if you suffer depression or depressed symptoms that seem to correspond with the changing of the seasons. The symptoms of SAD normally begin in the late fall as the days become shorter and the temperature gets colder and linger into the following spring or summer.

SAD usually occurs throughout the winter months. Contrarily, though less frequently, this type of sadness can also manifest in the spring or summer and go away by the fall and winter.

SAD frequently manifests as feelings of sadness, moodiness, lethargy, low energy, difficulty focusing on daily activities, and an overarching sense of helplessness. Although the symptoms of SAD tend to go away with the changing of the seasons, the cyclical nature of this mental health condition can be challenging to deal with on a yearly basis.


What Are The 5 Best Eating Habits To Fight Seasonal Depression? Here Is What To Know
What Are The 5 Best Eating Habits To Fight Seasonal Depression? Here Is What To Know


There is no quick, easy fix for this issue. (And if you believe you or a loved one is experiencing a particularly severe case of SAD, it’s critical that you speak with a healthcare provider to discuss an efficient treatment plan that may include therapy or even medication.) However, there are healthy coping mechanisms for SAD-related symptoms. The Cleveland Clinic suggests that you can manage SAD symptoms by engaging in regular exercise, going outside, getting enough sleep, and eating a balanced diet.

While there isn’t a single diet that will prevent seasonal depression, Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and a member of our Expert Medical Board, says there are some foods and strategies you can use to lessen its symptoms.

Continue reading to discover some eating behaviors that dietitians advise you to adopt in order to combat seasonal depression when it manifests.


Eat More Vitamin D-Rich Foods

What Are The 5 Best Eating Habits To Fight Seasonal Depression? Here Is What To Know
What Are The 5 Best Eating Habits To Fight Seasonal Depression? Here Is What To Know


Despite being a vital vitamin, when we spend more time indoors, which is increasingly prevalent as the days get shorter and the temperatures decrease, we’re more prone to miss out on vitamin D.

According to Goodson, a lack of sunshine and vitamin D activation is a major factor in seasonal sadness.

According to Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, collectively known as The Nutrition Twins, “research has shown that people who are deficient in vitamin D are more likely to be depressed, and there may be a link between vitamin D deficiency and specific mood disorders like seasonal affective disorder.”

The Mayo Clinic advises individuals to consume around 600 mcg of vitamin D each day.

If you’re seeking for simple sources of vitamin D, Goodson recommends “foods like cow’s milk, fatty fish like salmon and trout, and eggs.” Orange juice that has been vitamin D-fortified is another option for plant-based sources of vitamin D.

It is still difficult to obtain enough vitamin D from diet alone, though. Try to spend some time in the sunniest part of the day if at all possible. Additionally, you can try a vitamin D supplement to ensure that you get your recommended daily intake of this vitamin.


Consume A Lot Of Protein At Each Meal

The Nutrition Twins claim that eating a lot of protein throughout the day will help you manage seasonal depression symptoms.

According to the Nutrition Twins, “protein enhances your body’s feel-good hormones, serotonin and dopamine, so receiving a boost consistently throughout the day is vital.” Additionally, eating protein with meals helps maintain steady energy levels by preventing blood sugar drops that cause mood swings.

The Twins advise consuming at least 20 grams of protein every meal. However, this can occasionally be difficult when traveling, especially when taking into account the other dietary categories. If this describes you, keep in mind that protein doesn’t always have to be the highlight of your entrée and think about including it as a side dish or an extra ingredient to top your main dish.

The Nutrition Twins suggest adding eggs or Greek yogurt to your breakfast cereal or toast, beans and chicken to your lunch salad, and chicken or shrimp to your pasta for dinner as some ideas for including protein at your meals.


Limit The Amount Of Processed Food And Added Sugar You Consume

sugary junk food
Sugary Junk Food


Simple sugars, which are frequently present in processed foods and snacks, can raise blood sugar levels, which may temporarily make you feel good but usually result in a slump in mood and lack of energy. “Those low energy levels can make any other symptoms of depression you may be having worse.”

According to research, regularly consuming processed foods and added sugar may be detrimental to your overall mental health. A research that was published in Scientific Reports discovered a link between eating sugar and having more depressive symptoms. Participants in a different research from The British Journal of Psychiatry were more likely to have depressive symptoms if they routinely ingested more sugar and processed meals.

Although these studies did not directly correlate symptoms of SAD, the results do imply that restricting processed foods and sugar may help you manage depression-related symptoms generally.

Have At Least Two Cups Of Leafy Green Vegetables Per Day

According to The Nutrition Twins, you should consume at least two servings of leafy green vegetables daily.

According to the Nutrition Twins, “These veggies are an excellent source of folate, and evidence indicates that low levels of folate are associated to depression.” As they continue, “folate deficiency may impair the metabolism of neurotransmitters that are very important for mood, including serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline.” This is thought to be the case.

The twins offer this advice when asked about good food sources of folate: “Any leafy green like spinach, kale, bok choy, turnip greens, or romaine lettuce, and other sources of folate include beans, oranges, asparagus, avocado, and broccoli.”


Eat Smaller Meals On A More Frequent Basis

Lethargy and a general lack of energy throughout the day are typical signs of SAD. Goodson advises consuming smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day that are heavy in fiber and protein to help fight this.

According to Goodson, supplying your body with protein and high-fiber meals often throughout the day will help regulate your blood sugar levels and, in turn, your energy levels. All of life’s other stresses are frequently amplified when you are under-fueled or exhausted from a lack of nutrition, making it more difficult to deal with day-to-day issues.

Even though you can’t completely prevent seasonal depression, adopting these eating habits, moving a lot, and spending time with the people you care about can help lessen some of its symptoms.

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