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5 foods to help you combat tiredness and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter. 

Some people with SAD may have symptoms during the summer and feel better during the winter. Symptoms include:

  • Persistent low mood

  • Loss of pleasure or interest in normal activities

  • Irritability

  • Feelings of despair, guilt, and worthlessness

  • Feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day

  • Sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning

  • Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Decreased sex drive

As the clocks change and the nights get longer, many of us suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But not to worry, as our expert nutritionist, Mark Gilbert reveals 5 foods that can secretly help you to feel full of energy and ready to combat SAD.

Dark chocolate

Yes, as the one type of chocolate that we can somewhat justify as healthy in very small doses, dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which is the mineral that gives us energy and keeps us from feeling tired.

Banana  Diet Meal


Also high in magnesium is ‘the marmite of fruit’, bananas. Love em’ or hate em’, they’re a great snack for when you’re on the go and their naturally high levels of magnesium mean you’ll be getting the right chemicals to offset the negative impact of SAD and will generally feel less tired.  

Red or Dark Meat Diet Plan

Red or dark meats

Famously full of iron, eating red and dark meats is a great way to combat tiredness daily. Mark notes that ‘in one study vegetarians were three times more likely to suffer from SAD, four more times in another’. As such, if you don’t eat meat, make sure you’re getting a decent iron supplement to avoid SAD this winter.

White Fish Diet Plan

Fatty fish

We all know the theory that eating fish improves brain function, but does it? Yes, says Mark, due in part to its high levels of a nutrient called Creatine which has been proven to improve memory and cognitive function. However, Mark also notes its use in combatting tiredness: ‘Creatine can literally improve energy production in the brain’. When paired with the naturally high magnesium content in fish, these sea creatures are the perfect antidote to the symptoms of SAD. 

Avocado and nuts

Avocado and nuts

Not only are avocados and nuts both low in sugar and high in fibre, making them filling and nutritious, they’re also high in magnesium. Both nuts and avocados are often considered ‘superfoods’ due to their many benefits, so it’s no surprise they also promote feeling energised and help offset some of the impact of SAD.

Mark's advice

Shorter, colder days, combined with less sunlight often lead to a depressed mood and low energy levels which are the primary symptoms of SAD. SAD is considered a serious depression disorder which is experienced in winter but not in summer. While a lack of Vitamin D may be a primary cause and increased exposure to sunlight a solution, that just isn’t possible for most of us during the winter months. 

So, if you’re feeling blue due to the changing weather and darkening sky, give these foods a try. Mark also recommends avoiding coffee later in the day and taking Vitamin D supplements to deal with SAD. Of course, if you’re looking to lose weight and also want to avoid SAD, The 1:1 Diet can help you, with our nutritionally complete solution that helps you shed the pounds in the fastest, safest, and most scientific way.  

However, if your symptoms go beyond feeling tired or sad, or these feelings are not going away and you’re having serious physical or mental health issues, you should always consult your doctor.  

Are you looking to start your 2024 health kick with a diet plan that REALLY works? Then look no further than The 1:1 Diet. Explore our meals and products by clicking the button below.