Food to cure the SAD-ness SOME people find they become more depressed over the winter months, when the days get shorter and darker.

Typical symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) include loss of energy, anxiety attacks, weight gain, food cravings, over-sleeping etc.

According to some reports 1 in 10 of us are affected by SAD, of which four out of five sufferers are women.

Foods greatly affect our moods. A poor diet, especially one with lots of junk foods, is a common cause of depression or mood swings.

When we are feeling low we often crave sugary foods or processed foods, aptly nicknamed 'comfort foods'.

However, this quick fix is only temporary and once the artificial 'high' wears off, it leaves you feeling just as unbalanced or low as before.

The following food tips are designed to help prevent the 'winter blues' by supplying the body with a steady source of energy that helps make you feel more balanced and reduces cravings.

>> Eat a diet that is high in raw fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, soy products, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Complex carbohydrates are the mainstay of your diet, especially brown rice, baked potatoes, rye bread etc.

These foods will help you feel more satis"ed and relaxed.

However, you need to reduce your intake of wheat, which can aggravate the symptoms.

Foods that are high in protein, especially the amino acid tryptophan, also help promote alertness, especially turkey, salmon and white "sh.

Reduce your intake of diet drinks and diet foods that contain the sweetener aspartame as this can block the formation of serotonin, which is a chemical released by the brain that plays a role in determining your mood, along with sleeping and eating patterns.

Avoid high-fat foods, which lead to sluggishness and fatigue.

Avoid sugar as much as possible and reduce your intake of natural sugar from fruit juice, honey, etc.

Reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine both of which dramatically affect our moods, leaving us feeling low after the stimulant has worn off.

>> A healthy diet will steady blood sugar levels and help ensure adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals especially the B vitamins and folic acid, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc and calcium.