Friday, March 12, 2010

Looking Forward to Spring

Winter is my favorite season; but only for three reasons: my birthday is in February, I'm from the Midwest and I adore snow. Most people dread cold weather and the short days of winter, but the colder months can also be a time where some are more prone to sadness or depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that linked to seasons. People may find that in the winter that they have intense cravings for carbs, afternoon slumps, increased appetite with weight gain, and excessive sleepiness during the day. If you are diagnosed with SAD, treatments include therapy and exposure to special light that imitates sunlight.

Scientists have been studying vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”, as a possible link to SAD. Since sunlight is decreased in winter months, Vitamin D levels can also decrease in the body. As of now, research is inconclusive about Vitamin D’s effects, but it’s still beneficial to ensure that you get your daily requirements in for good nutrition. Research shows that vitamin D can prevent colon and breast cancers, osteoporosis and heart disease. Some great sources of vitamin D are milk, whole eggs, tuna, salmon and mackerel.

Growing up in Milwaukee, I knew spring was coming when robin red breasts started hopping around the city. Since I’m new to the DC area, I hear the thing to do to celebrate the end of winter is to visit the Cherry Blossom Festival. What plans do you have to welcome back warmer weather?

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