Say Goodbye to Winter Blues
It’s that time of year again when the holidays have ended, and we are back into the swing of things. It’s a new year and you might be in a slump after the holidays and festivities have ended or you might feel blue during the cold winter months.
“Seasonal Defective Disorder” (SAD) is related to the shortening of daylight hours and can interfere with one’s daily activities. SAD can lead to a gloomy outlook on life and cause you to have little motivation throughout the days. It’s hard to find things you enjoy, and one may lose interest in activities they usually find happiness in. SAD is similar to forms of depression including feelings of hopelessness, lack of concentration, social withdrawal, and fatigue. There are many ways to help cure these winter blues including exercise and diet. Often times people find themselves snacking on starchy and sugary foods, so here are some hot tips on how to navigate winter blues. Start with foods you enjoy, while trying to limit sugar, starchy, and processed foods! Start simple by adding a different food a day to your diet to help boost your mood.
Including Vitamin D rich foods in your diet can have a positive impact on your health. Consider incorporating egg yolks, tuna, salmon, and vitamin D fortified milk, yogurt, and cereal into your meals. Studies have shown that individuals with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and depression. This is why it is important to prioritize the intake of Vitamin D rich foods throughout the year, in addition to getting some sunlight every day.
While it is important to consume Vitamin D through food sources, it can also be helpful to take supplements if needed. It is recommended that adults get at least 600-800 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D per day, but this may vary depending on individual needs.
Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet is a great way to increase your Vitamin C intake. Oranges, mangoes, lemons, kiwis, broccoli, bell peppers, and strawberries are all fantastic sources of this essential nutrient. Vitamin C can help elevate your mood and strengthen your immune system. If you're feeling stressed or anxious, try eating a banana. Bananas contain tryptophan, a natural chemical that promotes relaxation and sleep. They also contain magnesium, which can alleviate stress and improve sleep quality. By adding Vitamin C-rich foods to your diet, you can reduce anxiety and enhance your immune system while enjoying delicious, healthy meals. For a quick and easy snack, try making a strawberry banana smoothie!
Vitamin B12 is essential in the production of brain chemicals that regulate mood and other cognitive functions. If B12 levels are insufficient, it could result in depression. Animal-based foods like lean meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are excellent sources of Vitamin B12. Additionally, fortified breakfast cereals provide B12 and other essential B vitamins.
Research indicates that folic acid is involved in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences mood. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, adding folic acid to your diet can be beneficial. Luckily, it's easy to incorporate folic acid into your meals through a variety of sources such as leafy greens, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, oranges, fortified cereal, lentils, black-eyed peas, and soybeans.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are known to have a variety of health benefits, including the ability to affect mood. Research indicates that individuals who consume a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids are less likely to experience symptoms of depression.
Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation in the body, which can lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and certain types of cancer. These fatty acids also play an important role in brain function and development, making them essential for cognitive health and memory retention. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids can also aid in maintaining healthy eyesight and reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Incorporating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish, nuts, and seeds into your diet can provide you with these incredible health benefits.
Did you know that protein-rich foods like beef, chicken, turkey, and eggs have been linked to higher levels of dopamine and norepinephrine? These brain chemicals play a crucial role in regulating your mood, motivation, and concentration. Moreover, lean proteins are an excellent source of amino acids that can help keep your spirits up.
If you're looking for a plant-based source of protein, there are many options to choose from as well. Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans contain high levels of protein and fiber, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied. Nuts and seeds are also a great source of protein and healthy fats, which can help improve brain function and boost your mood. So, whether you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian, incorporating protein-rich foods into your diet can have a positive impact on your mental health and overall well-being.
The food groups listed above are all associated with the longevity diet. This diet is packed with vital nutrients that can help alleviate SAD and beat the winter blues! By subscribing to a diet plan that suits your needs, you can create your own winter blues cure. Prioritize quality over quantity, eat mindfully, keep portion control in mind, and have healthy snacks and foods on hand for quick access. These tips can enhance your well-being and promote a healthy lifestyle.