15 Foods That Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder from 15 Foods That Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

15 Foods That Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

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15 Foods That Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

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People who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the winter blues, may find themselves struggling to fight their low mood. Before you head to your doctor and start taking prescription medication to help fight off your symptoms of depression, you may want to consider other options. Believe it or not, there are certain foods that have the ability to help fight SAD.

*Related: 14 Signs and Symptoms You’re Suffering From Winter Blues

Most of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, which is why probiotics and prebiotics are essential. “Probiotics are not only great for one’s immunity, but also for the brain, in that they help the production of serotonin, the feel-good chemical,” says Roshini Raj, member of the Lose It! Advisory Board and author of What the Yuck?! The Freaky & Fabulous Truth About Your Body.

Popcorn

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“Healthy snack options such as popcorn and pretzels are a good source of carbohydrates,” says Roshini Raj, MD and author of What the Yuck?! The Freaky & Fabulous Truth About Your Body. “Carbohydrates are important for a healthy mind as they increase the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical.”

Miso Soup

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“This probiotic food, which originated in Japan and is typically made from fermented soybeans, can contain up to 160 bacteria strains," Raj says. “Probiotics are not only great for one’s immunity, but also for the brain, in that they help the production of serotonin, the feel-good chemical.”

Berries

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Fruit is essential for our overall health. But when it comes to beating the winter blues, berries take the cake. Certain flavors in berries actually have a chemical similarity to valproic acid – a prescription mood stabilizing drug. Blueberries specifically contain antioxidants that help stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain. Eating them has been associated with reduced blood pressureheart disease prevention, and less muscle damage.

Sauerkraut

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“A finely diced sour cabbage dish that has been fermented by a wide variety of bacteria, sauerkraut is another probiotic rich food as a result of the lactic acid process that naturally preserves sauerkraut,” Raj says.

Flaxseeds

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Flaxseeds contain a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that they enhance the release of endorphins, which in turn makes you happier and helps you fight depression. Click here to see more reasons why you should add flaxseeds to your diet.

Tempeh

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“Tempeh is a fermented food which provides probiotics as well as prebiotics,” Raj says. This is important considering most of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut. “It is made by fermenting cooked soybeans into a mold,” she adds.

Dark Chocolate

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Believe it or not you can satisfy your sweet tooth and fight seasonal affective disorder by consuming dark chocolate. Some studies have shown that dark chocolate may play a role in regulating hormones. According to Health Magazine, the cocoa in dark chocolate can trigger a relaxation effect in the walls of your blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure and improves circulation. Plus, new research shows that this sweet treat may even be able to provide a midday energy boost.

Oatmeal

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Raj says that probiotics are good bacteria because they are important for your digestive health, which thrives on fiber. “Less than three percent of Americans meet the daily recommendations for fiber, which is why it is extremely important to fill up on fiber rich foods - such as oatmeal,” she adds.

Yogurt

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“Probiotics are added to milk as part of the process of making yogurt,” Raj says. “However, bacteria can be destroyed during processing, so make sure the label says ‘live and active cultures,' which means bacteria have been added back in.”

Kimchi

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“Our brains and our bellies are connected by a superhighway of neurons and hormones called the brain-gut axis,” Raj explains. “Kimchi, which is a spicy, pickled or fermented blend of cabbage, onions and sometimes fish, is a great probiotic to boost good gut bacteria and help alleviate stress.”

Dark Leafy Greens

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Dark leafy greens such as spinach are high in nutrients. They contain fiber, magnesium and iron, to name a few. Magnesium helps relax the nervous system and enhance mood, while lack of magnesium or iron may result in depression.

Brown Rice

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“Whole grains like brown rice are full of fiber, and probiotics thrive on fiber,” says Raj. “The fiber travels through your small intestine without being broken down and reaches your colon where bacteria go to town.” Thriving probiotics equals less stress and more serotonin, she adds.

Dark Chicken and Turkey Without the Skin

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The amount of iron in these foods will help uplift you and give you the energy you need to be more active throughout the day so you don’t feel “blah,” Raj says.

Shrimp

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Raj says that “eating fish and seafood twice a week is associated with lower risk of depression and suicide.”

Bananas

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Bananas contain vitamin B6 and tryptophan – a brain chemical that helps regulate mood and has been shown to treat depression and anxiety. Vitamin B6 helps convert the tryptophan into the hormone serotonin; it not only boosts your mood but aids in sleep as well.