SAD? CHP Nutrition Tips for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Feb 7, 2022 | News, Nutrition

By Chrissy Garner MS, CNS, LDN, CPT

The “winter blues,” also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that’s related to changing seasons and longer nights. Typically, symptoms begin to worsen around the fall and peak during the winter. Symptoms of SAD are similar to other forms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness, lack of concentration, social withdrawal, and fatigue. To lessen these feelings and to maintain positivity during the darker months add some of these nutrients into your day!

Omega-3 fats (an essential fatty acid) have anti-inflammatory properties and are known to support brain function. Some delicious sources are salmon (aim for three servings weekly), sardines, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, and flax seeds.

Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin.” Reaching 10-20 minutes of sun exposure daily can supply adequate amounts in the summer months. Until we get there, include food and supplement sources. Add some organic dairy, eggs, mushrooms, tuna and salmon to your weekly menu.

Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals in the body. It has been connected to positive brain chemistry. When feeling stressed, magnesium can be one of the first minerals leached from the body. Add these food sources for a dose of positivity and relaxation: leafy greens, legumes, whole grains, cashews, and pumpkin seeds.

Low levels of B vitamins (such as B6, B12 and folic acid) have been linked to depression. Add a few servings each day of the following foods in order to maintain energy levels and a positive outlook: leafy greens, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, oranges, lentils, black-eyed peas, soybeans, lean beef, clams, oysters, crab, wild salmon, eggs, and organic dairy products.

The CHP Nutrition team provides nutritional counseling and support to CHP patients. CHP’s Behavioral Health team provides mental health support and counseling. Find out more about our nutrition services through your CHP primary care practice.

Chrissy Garner is clinical director of CHP Nutrition services.

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