Tonics for the Winter Blues
With the threat of Winter Blues now looming with the onset of winter, leading natural health store, Nutrition Centre – pioneers of inner wellbeing for 40 years – have sound advice for remaining vital and upbeat in the colder, darker weeks ahead. They also introduce their new ‘SAD Survival Kit’.
During the winter months, especially between December and February, nearly one in five of the UK population suffers from Winter Blues – also known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
An estimated one million working hours are lost by British industry annually due to SAD between September and April. At the extreme end of the scale, SAD affects 7% of the UK population, bringing on a major depression. The main symptoms are low mood and lack of interest in life, and can also include sleep problems, lack of energy, a craving for sweet foods and an inability to cope. As with any condition, it’s important to consult a doctor if you believe you have SAD to get a proper diagnosis.
Clare Galpin, Director of Nutrition Centre, says SAD is caused when the seasonal change in light disrupts our bodies’ circadian rhythms. She explains:
“Circadian rhythms regulate and control your internal body clock, which impacts your sleep, energy levels and mood. In the past, we humans would have spent a great deal of time outdoors, and even just a couple of hundred years back, most of us would have worked outside. In modern times we are less exposed to sunlight and the artificial lights we have indoors can affect our bodies’ ability to use natural light as its cue to get into good sleep and wake cycles.”
SAD can be managed by making some simple lifestyle changes, including taking plenty of exercise to elevate your mood and eating a healthy diet.
Clare Galpin suggests the most important way to tackle SAD is to get as much sunlight as possible, she says:
“If you work in an office, ask if your desk can be near a window, and if you’re always indoors, make sure you go outside at break times. In the evenings be sure to power down your computers, tablets and televisions an hour or so before bed as the artificial light can interfere with the light cues your body needs.”
With regard to diet, Clare Galpin recommends that while the temptation to turn to junk food for a ‘feel better’ quick-fix may be strong, you’d do much better to cook up some hearty meals with good quality ingredients to nourish your body. Ensure you are getting plenty of seasonal vegetables such as kale, cabbage, carrots, sprouts, leeks and cauliflower. For protein, try good cuts of meat, turkey and fresh fish, and if you’re veggie – tofu, lentils and eggs. And suitable sources of carbohydrates include gluten-free whole grains like rice, quinoa, buckwheat and sweet potatoes – or plantains to get a satisfying carb fix without the sugar!
For those struggling to find time to make significant lifestyle changes due to pressures like work and family commitments, Nutrition Centre have provided a useful alternative – their new SAD Survival Kit comes complete with essential remedial tonics for managing the Winter Blues.
The SAD Survival Kit includes:
· St John’s Wort (A.Vogel Hyperiforce): a highly effective remedy for combating low mood and mild anxiety (if you’re on any medications, check with your healthcare practitioner before taking it)
· A good quality multivitamin and mineral in an absorbable form (Natures Plus “Source of Life” Multivitamin and Mineral tablets) to help prevent any nutrient deficiencies
· A high strength Vitamin D3 supplement (Solgar Vitamin D3 2200 IU) – “the sunlight vitamin” – for an uplifting boost during the dark winter months ahead
· Pukka Morning Time: a caffeine-free tea with vitalising herbs for an enlivening kick start to your day
Finally, Clare Galpin also recommends cutting down on alcohol and caffeine to alleviate SAD:
“Too much coffee and binge drinking will ultimately only make you more depressed – we strongly encourage natural highs and tonics for beating the Winter Blues.”
For further information about Nutrition Centre visit: www.nutritioncentre.co.uk