Top tips to help you stop feeling S.A.D.

Yoga: Upward dog
Yoga: Upward dog

November’s dark mornings and evenings, and energy levels fall meaning we can even feel less happy – current research has told us that food can definitely affect our mood as well as our energy levels so let’s look at some simple things you can do to prevent that S.A.D feeling!

When you are faced with a stressful situation, your body eagerly uses up the essential nutrients it needs, unless you replenish the stock, your stress symptoms, will continue longer than normal because you are depleted of the essential nutrients needed for optimum brain function.

Deficiencies in the following list of nutrients have all been linked to issues with our mental capacities:

B1 – Poor concentration

B3 – depression, stress

B5 – poor memory

B6 – depression, poor memory, irritability, stress

B12 – poor memory, confusion

Folic acid – anxiety, depression

Magnesium – anxiety, depression, irritability, stress, insomnia

Vitamin C – depression, stress

Selenium – depression, irritability

Zinc – depression, confusion, blank mind, loss of appetite, lack of motivation

Omega 3 – depression, poor memory

Tryptophan – depression

Vitamin E – stress and heart disease

(source: Mental Health Foundation)

Shopping list to improve our happiness

Brown rice (B1, B3, B5, B6, Selenium)

Porridge Oats (B1, B3, B5, B6, Selenium)

Walnuts (magnesium, Omega 3, tryptophan, zinc)

Brazil nuts (selenium)

Pumpkin seeds (magnesium, Omega 3, zinc)

Sunflower seeds (magnesium, omega 3, zinc and selenium)

Hemp oil (omega 3, 6 & 9)

Peppers (B1, B3, B5, B6, VC, Magnesium)

Broccoli (B1, B3, B5, B6, Magnesium)

Spinach (Folic Acid)

Bananas (B6, potassium, tryptophan)

Oranges (Vitamin C)

Chicken (B12, tryptophan)

Salmon (B12, Omega 3, Selenium, zinc)

Tuna (B12, Omega 3, selenium, zinc)

Natural yoghurts (B12)

Eggs and Marmite (B12)

Foods specifically for stress reduction:

Almonds A good source of Vitamin B2 and E, as well as magnesium, calcium and zinc. Vitamin E has been shown to fight the free radicals associated with stress, and in particular, those free radicals that cause heart disease.

DARK CHOCOLATE (Hurray!): A study published in the Journal of Proteome Research found that consuming 40 grams of dark chocolate daily for a period of two weeks reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol our fight-or-flight hormones.

Vitamin D It is now estimated an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency affects one billion people. No one is exactly sure why apart from the fact that we spend too much time indoors and we lather sunscreen on ourselves outside. How much vitamin D you need varies with age, body weight, % of body fat, latitude, skin coloration, season of the year, use of sun block, individual variation in sun exposure, and – probably – how ill you are.

Deficiencies in Vitamin D can cause:

Fatigue

General muscle pain and weakness

Muscle cramps

Joint pain

Chronic pain

Weight gain

High blood pressure

Restless sleep

Poor concentration

Headaches

Bladder problems

Constipation or diarrhoea and much more

How to increase your uptake of Vitamin D naturally:

Wild salmon, Fresh mackerel or sardines

Tinned tuna in oil

Pork ribs

Free range eggs

Shitake mushrooms

Organic beef liver

Alternatively please see a qualified therapist for a supplement and further advice.

Yoga can, of course, help with SAD and low energy and yoga backbends are perfect for this! Why not try Upward Facing Dog Pose (if you have a dog you will be familiar with how brill they are at stretching!)

Free video available to follow www.carolebaker.co.uk/resources/videos.html or email me if you would prefer a handout to print off yoga@carolebaker.co.uk