By Bernard Freeman
Gray days and long winter nights can trigger a specific type of depression called seasonal affective disorder.
While you should always talk to your doctor if you’re feeling depressed and especially if you’ve had suicidal thoughts, and always take any medicines prescribed for you, what’s on your plate can make a difference in how you feel.
Here’s some good eats from Healthline.
Meats like fish, chicken, leaner cuts of pork and other proteins carry lots of amino acids, which Healthline says may positively affect your mood. These lean proteins can also be a great source of energy to fight that winter fatigue.
Healthline cites a University of Pittsburgh study that finds higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids can make you less likely to experience moderate or mild symptoms of depression. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, walnuts and flax seeds.
Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries may help prevent the release of stress hormone cortisol, Healthline says. Cortisol can affect memories, emotional responses and navigation.
Limit Your Sugar
We know. It’s comforting and feels good. But UCLA research says too much sugar can slow down brain function. The crash after a sugar high can make you feel worse than you did before.
There’s some evidence the brain uses folic acid to create serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects the mood. Get folic acid in foods like leafy greens, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, oranges and fortified cereals.
Another vitamin that may have a positive effect on your mood is B-12. According to the Mayo Clinic, B-12 helps produce brain chemicals that affect mood. Find it in foods such as lean beef, oysters, crab and dairy.
We just said avoid sugar, right? Well, look for a bar with high cocoa content and lower sugar. Dark chocolate, specifically the polyphenols in it, have been linked to an improved mood. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant.
Bananas contain tryptophan to improve your mood, along with carbohydrates and potassium to run your brain. They also have a dose of magnesium, which may improve sleep and reduce anxiety.