Seasonal Affective Disorder
There is documented evidence that there is more stress and more depression during the holiday season than at any other time of the year. There are several factors to this statistic, but there are also several things we can do about it as well. We don’t need to wallow in self-pity just because it is ‘that time of the year’.
SAD can stand for Seasonal Affective Disorder or Standard American Diet. Either way it renders a person depressed, morose, physically lacking energy and unable to handle the stresses of the day.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
This is caused by a lack of sunshine. In areas where there is little or no sunlight people begin feeling down. Many have reasoned that the lack of sunshine produces a lack of Vitamin D in the body. Supplementing with Vitamin D or with high intensity full spectrum lighting does seem to help. But, there are other nutrients that can be impacting the need for light. A lack of Vitamin B12 can cause depression, dementia and even delusional thinking. Another B vitamin that impacts depression is Biotin, or B7. Still another is Niacin, or B3. This vitamin improves memory and a lack of it can lead to depression and dementia. Thiamin, or B1, can increase the body’s energy by breaking down the blood sugar in the body. This can help with the fatigue and lethargy that accompanies depression.
Standard American Diet
The other SAD stands for our Standard American Diet. Americans eat worse around the holidays. First of all they give themselves permission to ‘celebrate’ with foods that they wouldn’t normally eat. Secondly they tend to celebrate with alcoholic beverages. Then, to top it all off they eat out more, mostly to fast food restaurants. Their reasoning is that they have so much to do that there isn’t time for a sit down meal. All of these combine to increase the calorie content and decrease the nutritional content of foods. Being nutritionally deficit can cause many of the symptoms of depression. We have already looked at what lacking some of the B vitamins can do.
Turmeric is one spice that feeds the brain. Reach for those celery sticks at the next buffet. They contain luteolin, which feeds the brain. Broccoli, Cauliflower, organic eggs and organic meats are great sources of choline. Walnuts contain omega 3 fats, as do those organic eggs and organic meats. Magnesium relaxes blood vessels and speeds the transmission of information through the brain. Healthy fats are important to a healthy brain, which combats depression. Healthy fats include saturated fats from organically grown meat and dairy as well as some nuts, coconut oils, some fish, and avocados. Unhealthy fats are any oils you can find in clear plastic bottles in the grocery store, as well as anything that has been hydrogenated.
Foods that cause depression include sugar in any of its forms as well as artificial sweeteners. It also includes foods made from grains and anything with preservatives and additives. All of these injure the brain in some way, leading to memory loss, depression and dementia. Fill your plate with vegetables; add a little bit of organic protein and a tiny bit of fruit. Drink plenty of water. Stay away from sugary drinks and alcohol. Your brain will thank you for it.