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Whether it’s a reaction to disappointment, loss, or a difficult situation, we can all relate to the moments when find ourselves feeling a little down and out—it’s a natural part of the human experience. However, feeling like this regularly without a reason could be a cause for concern. Serious bouts of depression and sadness should always be met with a consultation from your healthcare professional, but have you considered that something as simple as your diet could be to blame for your unexplained “off days?”
It’s no secret that a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is a core tenant of a healthy, happy, and vibrant life; yet many may be unaware that specific vitamin deficiencies in your daily diet could also contribute to your low mood. In fact, studies have shown that vitamin C and D are intricately tied to depression and cognitive impairment. We consulted the experts at Bupa Global to weigh in on how these two key vitamins affect your mood and what you can do to boost your intake naturally!
You may have heard that going outside for a walk and soaking up the sun rays can work wonders for uplifting your spirits—and a big reason behind that is because the sun acts on our skin to produce vitamin D!
Endearingly coined the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D has long been known as an essential fat-soluble nutrient that helps keep bones strong, regenerate cells, and boost immune function. More recent studies have also linked vitamin D deficiencies with our mood, suggesting that insufficient levels of the nutrient could play a role in depressive conditions.
While the exact connection remains unclear, researchers believe that this is likely due to the fact that vitamin D performs important functions in regulating brain health.
The easiest way to get your daily dose of vitamin D is through sunlight exposure. To ensure sufficient vitamin D production without damaging the skin, aim to spend around 20 minutes out in the sun each day while wearing sunscreen. With winter making its annual comeback and evenings drawing in earlier, getting enough sunshine every day may not always be possible. But not to fret—there is a host of food sources that you can consume to help bring your vitamin D levels up to scratch.
Obtain the recommended daily 800 IU of vitamin D through your diet with food naturally high in vitamin D3, such as wild-caught salmon, herring, sardines, canned tuna, and egg yolks. Foods that have been fortified with vitamin D such as cow’s milk, soy milk, and orange juice are also great options.
Vitamin C has earned an enviable reputation as a holy grail for boosting immunity and warding off colds and viruses, but turns out, this renowned micronutrient has an even greater impact on your wellbeing than what it’s been given credit for.
According to a psychiatry study, vitamin C deficiency also relates to depression, adverse moods, and cognitive effects. Although the link between vitamin C and mood might seem surprising, many people with a vitamin C deficiency have in fact often reported feeling fatigued or depressed.
Given the importance of vitamin C in keeping both our physical and mental health in tip-top shape, getting enough vitamin C in your diet should be a priority; and the good news for picky eaters is that vitamin C is found naturally in a wide array of fruits and vegetables.
Oranges might be the first food that springs to mind at the mention of vitamin C, but red peppers, guava, kiwi fruit, mango, and pineapple actually pack an even greater punch! As you try to incorporate plenty of these food sources throughout the day, just be mindful not to exceed the upper daily limit of 75 to 90 milligrams a day. Excessive amounts of vitamin C can cause an upset stomach and nausea.
Whether you are trying to fight off the dreaded winter blues or simply want to wake up feeling energised and ready to tackle the day, upping your intake of vitamin C and D could be the ticket to boosting your mood. However, as every body is different, it is important to always check with your healthcare provider for the appropriate units of vitamins you should be taking!