You may find yourself battling the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder, after the holiday season. There are foods you should and should not eat in your battle against SAD. You may or may not need prescription drugs to battle this, but you should visit your primary care doctor in order to determine that a more serious health issue is not involved.
Avoiding sugar and empty carbohydrates and focusing on eating complex carbohydrates can help simulate serotonin production in your body. Also, make an effort to expose yourself to bright indoor light as a substitute for natural sunlight. Exposing yourself to a 300 watt light bulb for 20 minutes three times per day can help temporarily boost serotonin levels in your body. Exercising is also important in the battle against seasonal affective disorder. Start with 15 to 20 minutes of dancing to your favorite music or fast walking at the grocery store. Getting six to eight hours of quality sleep each night and drinking plenty of water also will help in the battle against SAD.
Some foods to avoid when battling SAD:
- Processed sugar
- White rice
- White bread
- White potatoes
- Regular and diet soda
- Wine, beer and spirits
Some foods to eat to help battle SAD:
- Olive oil
- Steel cut oats
- Whole grain bread
- Wheat germ
- Bulgar wheat
- Flax seed
- Chick peas
- Dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, endive and escarole
- Brightly colored vegetables such as sweet potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, acorn squash, red and yellow bell peppers
- Dark chocolate - in moderation, any dark chocolate with 65 percent or higher cacao is a mood elevator
- Fish, poultry, eggs, cheese and lean meats in moderation
- Plant-based protein sources
Schedule a check-up with your primary care doctor to discuss your nutritional and medication needs. Be honest with your doctor regarding your diet, tobacco use, alcohol consumption and any recreational or prescription drug use. Your doctor may recommend blood work in order to determine the severity of vitamin deficiencies before making nutritional and medication needs.
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