3 Foods To Help You Beat S.A.D. This Winter

And three easy ways to get them into your diet

Photo by Caju Gomes on Unsplash

How Does S.A.D. Really Work, Anyway?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD (an abbreviation that’s either apt or slightly cruel, depending on how much you hate November), is caused by a lack of sunlight in winter. As with many mood disorders, the underlying causes are not always clear. But the main upshot with S.A.D. is this: reduced sunlight disrupts our body clock and changes the levels of seratonin and melatonin in the body.

How do you counter S.A.D.?

Thankfully, there are several tips and treatments that can help.

Three S.A.D. super-foods, and how to get them in

1. Spinach

The food of champions (if your champion is the bulge-armed cartoon Pop-Eye), spinach is full of folic acid — which some studies have linked to a hike in serotonin levels.

2. Bananas and yogurt

Bananas are the perfect happy food: quick to consume and packed with mood-boosting nutrients, from prebiotics (a type of plant fibre that feeds the bacteria essential for your gut health and mental health) to magnesium (a vitamin for regulating sleep and reducing anxiety). Yogurts often contain probiotics, the live bacteria which prebiotics feed off. Together, this combo is essential for keeping your gut in good condition — and with it, your immune system and mental health.

3. Chocolate

Yep, that’s right. You heard me. Chocolate. Dark chocolate with high cocoa content, mind; none of that ghostly white stuff, unfortunately. But yes, dark chocolate has been shown to help improve your mood. Participants in one study consumed a chocolate drink rich in polyphenols, an antioxidant found in cocoa, and reported much higher levels of contentedness and calmness.

Fresh off a philosophy degree, I now write about sanity, psychology and society.