Foods to help you deal with SAD
Fall is prime SAD weather. As daylight hours decrease and temperatures start to cool down, we're more susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that's related to a change in seasons. Its main cause is that change in light, which impacts our circadian rhythm (sleep cycle), along with melatonin levels and levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin. As if that weren't enough of a bummer, these changes can also impact levels of cortisol, everyone's favorite stress hormone.
You might already be familiar with some of the negative food-related aspects of SAD, such as wanting to stay in bed and eat all the carbs. Well, the good news is that certain foods can actually have a positive effect to help you rally and feel more balanced and like a functional human who actually wants to go to the gym. As a dietitian and health coach, I talk with my clients about foods to keep in your feel-better arsenal this time of year. These are a lot of the things I reach for too when I feel those seasonal "blahs" creeping in (yes, even dietitians have those days). Here are my top picks and why they're on my list of go-to foods.