When you hear the acronym SAD, you would rightly assume that it is referring to the Standard American Diet. But there is another SAD which is also important to talk about – Seasonal Affective Disorder. What is this particular SAD? Think “winter blues.” Many people notice a change in the way they feel at the start of the colder season – lethargy, weight gain, loss of libido, difficulty concentrating, and even low grade depression. Some may have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, sleep longer, crave carbohydrates and feel less joy in everyday activities. Continue reading “Feeling the Winter Blues?”
The darker days of winter can take a toll emotionally and mentally on many people. For some, feeling down and the longing for warm sunshine is constant and can be accompanied by symptoms like fatigue, weight gain and irritability. This feeling is referred to appropriately as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a type of depression that is common during winter months.
The cause of SAD isn’t absolutely clear. However, research indicates that lack of sunlight and the roles of two neurotransmitters, serotonin and melatonin, may have a part in the onset of this disorder.
Serotonin is known as the “feel good hormone” and helps to regulate our moods. Continue reading “Strategies to Lift Your Mood and Help with SAD”
Researchers in New Zealand found that people who ate at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day felt calmer and more relaxed than those who didn’t. The study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology found a day-to-day relationship between those who reported a higher fruit and vegetable consumption and positive mood.
According to lead author, Dr. Tamlin Connor, “On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did.”
To achieve seven fruits and vegetables per day, try filling up half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Besides having a positive effect on your mental outlook, you will also be giving your body fiber for good digestion, antioxidants to help fight cancer causing free radicals, and heart healthy vitamins and minerals.
If you find you are still struggling with this, try adding a greens drink or a berry drink like Berry Fusion to your daily routine.
If you typically feel the winter blahs or the February blues, then you might be experiencing SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. SAD is a type of depression that affects people in the winter months because of the darkness from shorter days and grayer skies. It is more common in women than men and in the north than the south.
Symptoms of SAD can be low energy, anxiety attacks, weight gain, sleeping too much, and decreased libido, all of which typically begin in the late fall and alleviate in the spring. But here is the good news. People with SAD often respond very well to light therapy (phototherapy) and vitamin D supplementation as well as other forms of natural medicine. Be sure to talk to your doctor about symptoms you are experiencing, for a proper diagnosis.
Start taking a vitamin D supplement now. Even better, have your levels assessed at your doctor’s office using a simple blood test known as serum 25OHD. Vitamin D3 is now known to be useful for not only bone health, but also immune system health, inflammation, against all forms of cancer, and of course mood.
People with SAD have higher levels of melatonin, the brain chemical that induces sleep. Light therapy is helpful for SAD because full spectrum lighting regulates the production of melatonin. Melatonin regulates daily patterns. Full spectrum light bulbs and light boxes are available. Continue reading “S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)”
The days are really short. I wake up before the sun and by the time 5pm rolls around, it is dark again. Many people experience sadness, melancholy or winter blues because they do not get enough sunlight. Some people experience SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, a mood disorder in which people with normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter.
There are many different treatments for classic (winter-based) seasonal affective disorder, including light therapy with sunlight or bright lights, antidepressant medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, ionized-air administration, and carefully-timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin.
However, today I am just going to give you five fun tips to pick up your mood. Continue reading “5 Tips to Beat the Winter Blues”