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Monday, 19 January 2015

SAD or seasonal affective disorder - these foods may help?

"SAD or seasonal affective disorder affects up to two million people in the UK, it tends to affect women more then men. SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe at this time of the year.The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They're most severe during December, January and February and in most cases the symptoms of SAD begin to improve in the spring before eventually disappearing.

The exact cause of SAD isn't fully understood, but it's thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter days of the year.

Sunlight can affect some of the brain's chemicals and hormones. However, it's not clear what this effect is. One theory is that light stimulates a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which controls mood, appetite and sleep. These things can affect how you feel.

In people with SAD, a lack of sunlight and a problem with certain brain chemicals stops the hypothalamus working properly. The lack of light is thought to affect the:

production of the hormone melatonin
production of the hormone serotonin
body's circadian rhythm (its internal clock, which regulates several biological processes during a 24-hour period) "

Those words above taken from NHS choices site.

However, I do know people who are affected by this disorder and it's almost as if they want to hibernate. However, they have found light therapy helps - this involves sitting in front of or beneath a light box that produces a very bright light. It was something suggested by their GP.

I do wonder if eating certain foods could help ...... I don't think it would cause harm, unless you were allergic to them. So you may wish to consider including these six foods in your meal plans.

I live the LCHF lifestyle and they are already included in my food plans. Read on and see what you think - perhaps have a chat with your GP, or contact The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association. There are people out there that can help.

Consider these foods - they might help to make you a little happier

Olive Oil

Rich in omega-3, studies have found that those who consumed olive oil on a daily basis (alongside a Mediterranean diet rich in nuts, whole grains, fish, vegetables and legumes) scored higher on quality of life assessments and were less likely to be depressed.


As you would have read above the happy hormone serotonin helps control our moods, and people with SAD very often have less. By eating Avocado, not only are they tasty, but they contain vitamin B3, which elevates serotonin levels. Avocados are also high in good natural fats which promote healthy blood flow and better brain function.


Walnuts are packed with serotonin and ALA,alpha-linoleic acid, an omega-3 fat that studies have found can act as a mood-booster. They are also high in other essential fatty acids which help the nervous system work properly. Have a few walnuts for a snack and they can help fill you up and leave you less likely to munch on sugar-heavy mood-downers - avoid sugar it does you no favours.


I'm not saying eat a ton of it just a serving a week perhaps? Beef is a good source of Vitamin B12 which can have an effect on serotonin and dopamine levels, both of which are reduced in cases of depression. This vitamin can also be found in eggs so as the old saying used to say 'go to work on an egg' makes sense to me.

Dark Chocolate

So many of us reach for a chocolate bar when we're feeling down, it's a favourite for many and can give a quick boost. However, best not to eat the milk chocolate. It is the darker chocolate that is healthier for you, try the 85% ones you can buy from any supermarket. Dark chocolate can stimulate the production of pleasure-releasing endorphins and is high in magnesium, which helps muscles relax and reduces anxiety. Just try a square of delicious dark chocolate mmmnnn .........


Mushrooms are good, especially the Shiitake Mushrooms, because they have quite high levels of Vitamin D, which is believed to slightly raise serotonin levels. During the winter months Vitamin D is often lacking, and many find that by adding some mushrooms to their menu plans can help the situation, as can a walk in the wintery sunshine. Some GP's offer Vitamin D supplements to some age groups, but this has to be a personal decision.

Well, I hope you may have found this article of interest. I am not a medical person, the above are my thoughts and readings I have found on the internet. If you suffer with SAD you may wish to share your thoughts to help others either here, or

All the best Jan

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