Weight Loss

Winter Depression Diet (Indian Menu) Top Foods for Depression

HEYIt’s winter! It’s the time when people like to stay warm and cozy under the covers. It’s difficult to wake up early in the morning, you feel like you’re staying at home all the time. Going outside becomes a chore. However, if this is a frequent occurrence, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD. Find more information about Winter Depression Diet PDF (Indian Menu) as well as Top Foods for Depression.

How does winter affect your mood?

Our bodies have a circadian rhythm that works in tandem with the sun’s clock. In the dark, the body produces melatonin, which induces sleep in humans. In winter the sun exposure is lower as we prefer to stay indoors. The internal human clock can be disturbed and lead to a hormonal imbalance in winter.

If you suffer from SAD, chances are you will be triggered in the winter. Winter depression can cause excessive sleep, weight gain, and trouble concentrating. You get extreme cravings for sweet or starchy foods. While starchy foods trigger the release of serotonin, it in turn induces sleep.

Causes of SAD (Winter Depression)?

  • High melatonin level: Melatonin hormone is produced in the dark. In winter, the body gets extra hours of darkness because of the short days. It might produce extra melatonin, which directly increases serotonin levels, which regulates sleep. You feel lazy, lethargic, depressed and low.
  • Serotonin imbalance: When there is a hormonal imbalance, there can be an imbalance of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. This can make winter depression worse. During winter, serotonin levels naturally increase and even the slightest imbalance can lead to SAD.
  • Low vitamin D levels: Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining serotonin levels. Low sun exposure in winter causes vitamin D deficiency, which leads to irregular sleep patterns.

Symptoms of Winter Depression or SAD:

  • Feeling bad
  • Sleep a lot
  • overeating
  • weight gain
  • Desire for sweet and starchy foods
  • antisocial behavior

Treatment of SAD:

  • Light therapy: Light therapy works wonders for mild to moderate winter blues. It involves exposure to a fixed amount of light for half an hour. Sun exposure also helps in the initial stages.
  • Antidepressants: For severe depression and anxiety, it is advisable to start medication under the guidance of professionals.
  • Lifestyle Intervention: A clean lifestyle helps correct winter blues. This contains:
    • Improvement of the sleep rhythm: Getting 8 hours of healthy sleep helps regulate serotonin, improves mood, fights depression and anxiety, and aids in weight loss.
    • Training schedule: But just push yourself to do each workout for at least half an hour. The training kick gets the metabolism going; releases happiness hormones, regulates sleep and fights depression.
    • winter depression diet: Diet plays an important role in improving your mood. Eat foods that boost metabolism and release dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins — the feel-good hormones that fight depression and anxiety.

winter depression diet

Foods to include in the Winter Depression Diet

Lean proteins increase metabolism. Protein keeps you full longer and curbs sugar cravings. It prevents the sudden sugar spike and hunger pangs. The amino acids help release hormones that make you feel good and treat depression. These include eggs, poultry, fish, dals, legumes and soy, as well as low-fat milk and dairy products.

winter depression diet

Millet and whole grains are complex carbohydrates that prevent sudden sugar spikes, keep you full or long, and help with weight loss. Add whole wheat flour, oats, brown rice, bajra, jowar, nachni, and quinoa.

Berries prevent the release of cortisol, curb hunger and also boost immunity. Berries are high in fiber and natural sugars, which can replace sugary food cravings during the winter.

Omega 3 helps improve your mood. It helps reduce depression and anxiety. Omega 3 also helps reduce inflammation in the body making you less tired. Add olive oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds, fish and walnuts.

  • Dark green leafy vegetables

Dark green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins, mainly B-complex vitamins, minerals, fiber and folic acid. All of these nutrients help improve mood. These nutrients also reduce stress levels and improve the sleep cycle. Include all green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, fenugreek leaves, etc.

Folic acid is a brain tonic that helps strengthen brain cells. It helps improve mood and fight depression and anxiety. Add green leafy vegetables, oranges, sunflower seeds, fortified cereals, lentils and soybeans too.

Vitamin D can be formed in the body itself through exposure to sunlight. Every day try to get outside in the morning to enjoy as much natural light as possible. If your vitamin D levels are still low, you can take a dietary supplement if prescribed by a doctor.

Cacao definitely has an effect on mood due to its polyphenol content. It helps relieve depression and stress. Chocolates contain a high amount of sugar, which leads to cravings after some time of consumption. It is advisable to replace the chocolate with dark chocolate, which has the same benefits with less sugar content.

Nuts are rich in fiber, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids and B-complex vitamins. They increase serotonin levels and act as mood stabilizers. Nuts are also a good weight loss snack option as they are high in protein and fiber. Add walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pica nuts, and Brazil nuts.

Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk product that improves gut health. A healthy gut reduces depression and anxiety. It also boosts vitamin D production in the body when exposed to sunlight.

Diet plan for winter depression

Empty Stomach: 1 serving of kefir drink or 1 glass of green juice (kale, spinach, cucumber, mint, ginger)

Breakfast: 1 cup overnight soaked oatmeal with flaxseed and berries

Morning: A handful of nuts (soaked almonds, walnuts, black raisins, Brazil nuts) or 40g paneer

Lunch: 1 cup salad + 1 millet roti + ½ cup brown or red rice + 1 cup veggies + 1 cup sprouts or dal

Afternoon: 1 glass of buttermilk

Snack: 1 cup green tea + ½ cup roasted chana or 1 cup kurmura or 1 khakhra

Dinner: 1 cup vegetable soup + 1 multigrain roti or 1 cup khichdi or daliya + 1 cup green leafy vegetables + 1 cup cottage cheese

bedtime: 1 cup warm water with dry ginger powder

Final note:

It is important to recognize the symptoms of depression in good time and to treat the depression in a timely manner. Do not be afraid to consult professionals who will help you correct your lifestyle and take medication. I hope this Winter Depression Diet helps lift your spirits and gives you some solidarity.

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