Daylight Savings Time And Your Diet
Daylights Savings Time evokes a lot of different feelings in people—good or bad. Some may look forward to this event that occurs twice a year, whereas others may dread it or view it with inconvenience. Victor Barge once said, “I don’t mind going back to daylight savings time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I’ve saved all year.” Perhaps others share his sentiment—but regardless of your own personal feelings on this “spring forward” or “fall backward” time—it’s important to note in our calendars, as well as body clocks!
Believe it or not, Daylight Savings Time was originally proposed by Benjamin Franklin in a satirical essay he penned in 1784, but was met with only humor. The concept took a while to catch on—first, in Germany in 1916 and eventually by the U.S. in 1918. When it finally hit the U.S., it was advertised and promoted as a means of saving electricity due to World War I.
Nowadays, Daylight Savings Time is something our smart phones do for us automatically without our consent or knowledge. For many, it’s an opportunity to save an extra hour of sleep in the fall; whereas, an inconvenient time to lose an hour in the spring. This quirky time of year where clocks move forward and backward are really signals that a true changing of the seasons have occurred. In the fall, for instance, we notice that it gets darker by 5:00PM or soon after, whereas, in spring the days begin to get longer and longer, signaling the timeless days of summer on the horizon.
The Effects of Daylight Savings Time
But how does Daylight Savings Time affect your own body, your diet, and overall nutrition? If you live in a climate where you experience four seasons a year, you will know that winter does very different things to your body than summer. For a lot of people, their metabolism speeds up in summer and they require more hydration, whereas in the wintertime, our appetites and waistlines seem to increase without our permission. Fall and spring—while somewhat depleting due to climate change—are enjoyable times of the year, “in between” seasons, as many of us call them, but they can also bring about allergies and environmental effects that are not as welcome.
How does your body react to the changing of the seasons and the time of year? While much talk about what we consume during holidays is rampant, we’re going to delve into the effects that Daylight Saving Time can have on your body and foods you can utilize to help nurture yourself. As the famous saying goes, “You are what you eat—“ and this can certainly apply to when we fall back and spring forward. Many of these foods you may already incorporate into your diet to begin with, while others you may not be aware are as well suited to your body for these precise purposes. Regardless, there’s a takeaway for everyone, especially when it comes to feeling good about what we put in our bodies during seasons and times of transition.
The two main obstacles many people face as a result of Daylight Saving Time are lack of sleep/tiredness and depression. We’re going to take a deep dive into both of these problems and see how we can best address them with wholesome foods. Have a pen and paper handy? You will want to jot some of these life-saving foods down!
Lack of Sleep/Tiredness
There’s nothing worse than chronic fatigue and sleepiness, right? Just think of all of the problems associated with not getting enough rest at night. While we get that extra hour of sleep when we “fall back” in autumn due to Daylight Saving Time, we lose that hour when we “spring forward” later the following year. Naturally, losing an hour of sleep is more of a detriment than gaining an hour. I think few people would complain about the latter!
There have been surveys done—the majority in Sweden, actually—about negative health effects due to a lack of sleep following Daylight Saving Time in the spring. Such studies have indicated that the risk of health problems like heart attacks increase the three days after setting your clock forward an hour, in addition to a more traffic accidents on the roads. Workplace injuries are even more frequent the Monday after Daylight Saving—many employees having trouble making up for that loss of sleep.
Let’s take a look at some foods that give you energy that will help you with such an adjustment. While nothing can account for going to bed a little early to save yourself from adverse health effects, foods can give you energy that will help you get through this trying time!
Bananas are one of the best foods you can consume for energy. They contain a multitude of carbohydrates, potassium, as well as B6, which is known to increase your energy amount. Some studies even indicate that if you eat a banana before exercising, it has the energy-boosting effects of a protein shake or caffeine-free energy drink. Not to mention bananas on average are only about 75-80 calories, making them a less caloric option for that extra boost!
Let’s talk about brown rice—did you know that it can also give you those extra jolts of energy? Brown rice is far better for you than white rice, which is processed and lacks some of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals of its counterpart. In just a cup of brown rice alone, you are bound to obtain 3.5 grams of fiber, as well as 88% of your RDI for manganese. What’s manganese? It’s a mineral that actually helps your enzymes break down carbohydrates that leads to sustained energy.
Sweet potatoes are also a great form of energy, as they contain 23 grams of carbohydrates, 28% of the RDI for manganese and even 428% of the RDI for Vitamin A—wow! The fiber content of sweet potatoes helps your body digest it over a prolonged amount of time, which gives you a consistent and reliable supply of energy, which is far better than the quick bursts of caffeine-related energy through coffee and tea.
Eggs are an ideal source of protein, and as a result can also give you an adequate amount of energy. Eggs do not cause increases in blood sugar and insulin when digested, making it a more consistent energy source, too. Additionally, B vitamins are a-plenty in eggs, which aid enzymes in breaking down food for energy. There’s a reason why so many people associate eggs of any kind with a healthy morning breakfast—they wake you up and get your metabolism going!
When we gain that extra hour in the autumn it’s a nice excuse to sleep in—however, it can cause depression in people because it signals the beginning of cold weather, winter months, and darkness around 5:00PM. This can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder or what is known as “winter depression”, where our serotonin levels seem to decrease as a result of our outside environment.
Unfortunately, this can lead to depression, which many people feel this time of year in some form or another. In more extreme instances, case studies have been done in countries like Australia and Denmark, where it was discovered male suicide rates increase when the advent of Daylight Saving Time in the fall. Some have even reported an 11% increase of depression as a direct result of the seasonal change, which then gradually tapered off ten weeks after the shift. As a result of these changes, it’s important we look to healthy foods to aid us in feeling good holistically.
Avocados are truly power foods because they contain health fats that keep your brain running properly. A typical avocado, for instance, contains four grams of protein, B9, B6, B5, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and jam-packed with Vitamin K. When your brain is running smoothly, so is your mental wellbeing. Naturally, avocados are an ideal match for keeping your mental outlook on the up and up after losing that hour!
Did you know that many scientists are claiming tomatoes can help combat depression? While there’s no silver bullet for a complex medical problem, doctors are finding that folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid are both great nutrients for fighting off depression. The Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience has found tangible evident of folate deficiency in patients suffering from depression. Folic acid, found in tomatoes, can prevent an excess of homocysteine, which limits the production of important transmitters like serotonin and dopamine from forming in the body. Many people now take alpha-lipoic acid in supplement form to help as a mood stabilizer, too.
All in all, only you know how your body works and what the best remedies are for treating the negative effects of Daylight Saving Time. While there are many advantageous to falling backward and springing forward, we also have to pay close attention to how our body responds to the changing of time, seasons, and the environment around us. Thankfully, what we put into our bodies affects how we outwardly feel—which is why it’s good to keep in mind the value of these nutrition-rich and feel-good foods!