page header image


Featured Article


How Dietary Changes can Help Reduce the Effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder

With the Northern spring equinox, the clocks go forward one hour - that's always a good sign for me. With daylight before 6am, increased sunlight duration is helping us SAD sufferers. If you live in the southern hemisphere, however, then your clocks go back, and the onset of SAD symptoms will soon be apparent to sufferers.

I did make a significant change to my diet in the New Year. For many years I have rarely eaten eggs, except for the very occasional omelette or scrambled on toast - that means maybe once a month. Of course, there are eggs in pasta, cakes and so on. The reason I minimised them was because I had read that they were heavy on cholesterol. Now, my 'bad' cholesterol level hasn't been too bad at about 5.7-5.9 for the last few years, but my SAD has been intense.

So, besides upping my exercise levels and taking St John's Wort, I have started to eat an egg every second day - usually poached.

Now I do look forward to my egg, and I do believe it has made a difference. Also, I've been adding some pate' to my regular foods - the liver content is beneficial, though liver is also high in cholesterol. My pate' intake is about 1 small block every two or three weeks, so not excessive.

There are three main kinds of cholesterol:

o LDL - low-density lipoprotein - so-called 'bad cholesterol' - this carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells and, if supply exceeds demand, harmful build-up of cholesterol may result.

o HDL - high-density lipoprotein - so-called 'good cholesterol' - this transports cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver to be broken down or excreted from the body.

o Triglycerides.

So why is cholesterol important? It forms part of the membrane that surrounds every cell, and helps to insulate nerve fibres (allowing nerve signals to travel more efficiently); also to help synthesise hormones, which carry chemical signals around the body. So, without cholesterol, our bodies wouldn't work well, if at all. Too much cholesterol in the blood, however, increases the risk of coronary heart disease and disease of the arteries.

Opinion as to what 'healthy' levels of cholesterol are is the subject of much discussion, but the general consensus is that the relative balance of the three types is what is important. It is not considered healthy when someone has high levels of LDL cholesterol and trigylcerides, and low levels of HDL cholesterol.

Of course, spring is coming (for us northerners) and that always helps, but I do believe the eggs and pate' have made a difference to me. If you live in the southern hemisphere, are susceptible to SAD and not looking forward to the coming winter, then it is worth considering your dietary balance

I will be going for my annual blood check soon and will get a new cholesterol measurement; I do recommend that if you are considering adjusting your diet, that you discuss it with your physician first.

Copyright (c) 2010 Phil Marks

Written by a long-term SAD sufferer. Dietary balance is just one component in reducing the effects of seasonal affective disorder. Find out more about dietary balance and SAD at my site. There are many other therapies too, which I examine in detail




Back to top