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Foods to ease the winter blues

Updated on December 10, 2015

The Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), commonly known as "the winter blues" occurs during the winter months and is a type of depression resulting from chemical changes in the body due to the absence of sunlight. While several types of treatments have been used to fight SAD, food remains one of the simplest home made treatments for the condition.

The winter blues come with a number of symptoms, including, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, oversleeping and a tendency to overeat resulting in the adding on of unwanted pounds. Food, however, can be your best friend in fighting the winter blues. Low levels of serotonin are a common cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Because serotonin is made up of tryptophan and amino acids, it is said that foods rich in tryptophan and amino acids can help cure the winter blues.

The blues
The blues | Source

Foods to Avoid

Several studies have shown that when we are sad, we look for quick fixes and neglect foods with nutritional value. People diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder tend to crave foods with high carbohydrate content, high sugar content and fatty foods. These foods result in a spike in blood levels which makes you feel worse in the long term

Food vegetables
Food vegetables | Source

Foods for the Blues

You can replace a high carbohydrate diet with a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains To replace the amino acids, your diet should include generous servings of Omega- 3 fatty acids which have been shown to cure the winter blues. Very good sources of Omega- 3 fatty acids would include fish like salmon as well as nuts and seeds like flax-seed and walnuts.

Tryptophan rich foods can also help cure your winter blues. nuts, turkey, chicken, eggs, milk, bananas, fish, and avocados are all natural sources that can boost your serotonin levels, ridding you of the blues. Studies have also shown that people with depression have low levels of vitamin B-12. By eating the foods listed above, you not only increase your serotonin levels but also your vitamin B-12 levels which in turn helps to produce serotonin.

Since you get much of your vitamin D from the sun, you could be deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D also helps increase serotonin levels which in turn stabilizes your mood. You can get boost your tryptophan and vitamin D with just dairy products which are usually enriched with vitamin D. You can also take a vitamin D supplement at this time.  Significant amounts of vitamin D can be had from other sources like fortified soy beverages and fortified orange juice, and fish like sardines, mackerel and tuna.



Yes you can cure your winter blues by what you eat. While quick, high caloric foods may provide an instant fix for your winter blues, it doesn’t last very long. You will only experience a series of lows and highs which only makes your SAD worse. It is indeed a relief to know that you can control or cure your winter blues by making the right food choices



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    • Joan King profile image

      Joan King 2 years ago

      I used to have a mild case and still do sometimes . I don't know for sure but it has become significantly better after I changed my diet several years ago

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      My wife suffers from seasonal disorder worse than I do. I'll have to pass this article on to her.