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07 Dec 2021

Healthy Living: Do you have seasonal affective disorder?

Healthy Living:  Do you have seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is estimated to affect approximately one in 15 people between September and April

The cold weather is delayed a few weeks, but the winter is soon upon us. I've yet to meet one person, who likes short wet days with long dark evenings, but it affects some people more than others who suffer with a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
In fact, SAD affects about 10 percent of the population, more women than men. Do you feel like crawling into bed, hibernating for a few months like bears? It's time to shake the winter blues and burst your cells into energy!
The right nutrients and good digestion are the base stones of vitality and disease prevention. So, if you have any digestive discomfort, do something about it because if you don't digest your food well, no matter how good your diet is, you won't get the full benefits. Chewing your food and eating in a calm environment sound too simple and unimportant, but it is crucial for absorption and preventing sluggishness.
Now that you are absorbing better, let's look at what you could eat to get you really energized. Choose easily digestible, warming foods such as light porridge with some Christmas spices, stewed apple (you can make it the night before) and some nut butter to keep you going for longer and help to regulate your bowels. Gently spiced soups and bean-vegetable stews or curries are great options for most days. Try to eat the rainbow when it comes to vegetables and aim for 6 portions a day.
Keep the meat consumption low and opt for fish at least three times a week. Protein is very important to keep the blood sugar levels balanced and that is the secret to long lasting energy. Eggs are the perfect protein source - taking you are not allergic to them; boil or poach them rather than frying to keep their nutrition values. Include protein in your snacks also to slow down the absorption of sugars and keep you energized longer. Fresh fruits with nuts are the best options, or vegetable crudités with hummus.
Complex carbohydrates (wholegrain / wholemeal) are important for energy, not just because they supply fuel in the form of glucose, but jam packed with energy nutrients, like B vitamins, Chromium and Magnesium.
The secret is in the variety! Don’t stick to wheat and oats all the time, experiment with gluten free and ancient grains! If bread, then opt for real sourdough.
Essential fats (Omega oils from fish and seeds, olive oil, avocado) are crucially important for your brain, happy hormone production - hence your mood. A bit of liquid sunshine - Vitamin D3 can also help to elevate the mood in winter months. A good quality cod liver oil will supply you with both, and additional Vitamin A to support your mucosal immunity. Herbal adaptogens are of great help, including Ashwagandha, Schisandra berries, Rhodiola or Siberian ginseng. Make sure you check for contraindications with your health care professional if you take any prescription medications!

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