When it's grey for days, bring the sun to you. Light therapy is a treatment that uses artificial sun lamps that emit a concentrated dose of UV (ultraviolet) rays. The uses and proven health benefits of UV sun lamps range from aiding various skin conditions such as eczema to treating mood disorders including major depression, postpartum depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). According to researchers at the University of Michigan Depression Center in Ann Arbor, sun lamps are most effective if used first thing in the morning. It's important to choose the sun lamp that's right for you as light intensity between lamps vary greatly.
Not enough can be said about the amazing health benefits of cod liver oil. This 'miracle' oil is rich in two essential omega-3 acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), both of which expand the areas in the brain that regulate mood and depression. Though the prospect of eating anything containing the words "cod," "liver," and "oil" may be less than enticing, thankfully it can be consumed in a multitude of ways, including in capsule format. One tablespoon contains 1,300 IUs of vitamin D—more than twice the recommended daily minimum allowance.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. Unfortunately, this is a recipe for chronic sleep deprivation, a condition that may result in cognitive impairment such as memory loss, decreased alertness, weight gain and various mood disorders including depression. According to the National Sleep Foundation, young adults and adults need seven to nine hours of sleep, and older adults need seven to eight hours of sleep for optimal health, especially in the winter.
Turn off Netflix, throw on your rain boots and take a hike. As little as 15 minutes of exercise a day can help elevate your mood and alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A 2005 study by Dr. Andrea Dunn in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine discovered that patients who walked for only 35 minutes a day, six days per week experienced a reduction in their depression by as much as 47 per cent! Outdoor exercise is preferable, but if that isn't possible, try to use a cardio machine that is close to a window at the gym.
Not a fan of fish? No problem. Egg yolks are also an egg-cellent (we had to) way to fuel up on vitamins. At about 40 IUs of vitamin D per egg, an egg-based breakfast will help contribute to your daily D requirements. From a basic omelette to a banana egg smoothie, the possibilities of incorporating eggs into your diet are endless.
In a city where it rains more than it shines, it's important to get your daily dose of sunshine. Here's how
Fish for thought
A fantastic (and delicious) way to stock up on your recommended 600 IUs (international units) of vitamin D is by eating fatty fish. Though cod, trout, mackeral and eel contain relatively high volumes of the nutrient, at 988 IUs of vitamin D per 3.5 ounce serving, wild salmon takes the cake for having the highest amount of vitamin D of all fish. What's especially great about salmon is its versatility in the kitchen. From benedicts to burgers, this wonder food can be incorporated into any meal of the day.
Click here for some of our favourite wild salmon recipes.
Carly moved to B.C. from Yellowknife, N.T. to pursue a career in journalism. She is a student in Capilano University’s Bachelor of Communication program, and loves writing about compelling human interests and all things Vancouver. In her spare time she can be found wandering and photographing city streets; probably lost, and discovering new hiking trails. She lives in North Vancouver with her boyfriend.