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Diet & Exercise for Seasonal Affective Disorder

For a few years now, doctors and health experts have all advised about the positive effects of exercise.  It provides your body with endorphins that help you be more positive and have a better mood. Diet and exercise are important factors for Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers.  Although one of the symptoms of SAD is that your appetite and diet change.  Many people have the problem with their appetite increasing and they want to eat more frequently.

While treatments like light therapy work, exercise will help keep you feeling better everyday. Exercising regularly makes a difference.  You only need to exercise for a small amount of time to notice a difference in your life.

The chemicals serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, in our brain, affect how we feel, our mood and our energy levels.  Proteins and carbohydrates stimulate production of these chemicals.  Protein helps stabilize blood sugar levels and gives you the amino acid tryptophan which is used by the brain to make serotonin. The production of dopamine is also boosted, which affects movement and to express emotions. Carbohydrates help tryptophan and serotonin production too.

SAD sufferers need a good balance of complex carbohydrates and protein.  Lean proteins such as: lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, tofu or nuts are helpful in a diet.  Carbohydrates such as whole grains, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes are good as well. You will want to get your daily does of vegetables and fruit in addition.

People can become depressed when they are feeling bored or apathetic. By staying active during the winter months, these feelings can be less noticeable.  For those who suffer from SAD being outdoors or in front of a light box during exercise implies more lighting during the winter months.  It is important to choose an activity that you enjoy and is motivating for you; otherwise you won’t stick to it for long.

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