Five Food Tips to Help Ease the Winter Blues

This winter has been pretty mild for most of us, but day after day of gray skies can really bring on a case of the winter blues. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), affects up-to 20% of adults. As the chill sets in and the wintry darkness looms, you can fight SAD by eating the right foods and boosting your vitamin intake.

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Here are five tips, along with a low sugar, and low carbohydrate diet is sure to help.

Vitamin B12
Low levels of vitamin B12 in the blood are associated with depression, but researchers can’t find definitive evidence as to why.

There are lots of tasty ways to fit it into your diet. Food sources of vitamin B12 include lean beef, clams, oysters, crab, wild salmon, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, and fortified cereals.

Folic Acid
Folic acid’s effect on the brain has given insight into how it can boost your mood. There’s some evidence that the body uses it to create serotonin — a neurotransmitter that affects mood — but there’s no conclusive evidence as to how it works. Including it in your diet is a good idea regardless.

You can get high amounts of folic acid in leafy greens, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, oranges, fortified cereals, lentils, black-eyed peas, and soybeans.

Fresh Berries
Stress aggravates depression symptoms and exhausts your body. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries may help prevent the release of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. During stressful situations, cortisol heads towards your hippocampus, a major portion of the brain that stores memories, provides emotional responses, and navigation. Keep berries on hand to combat stress and depression when it hits.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been praised for their health benefits, including possibly influencing your mood. people with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to experience moderate or mild symptoms of depression.

Sources that contain the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds, walnuts, and salmon.

I saved the best for last! Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.

Along with diet and exercise, spending time with family and friends also really helps me. Some researchers believe laughter to be the best medicine. I have to agree, it sure helps me be happy.

How about you? Do you have any tips on easing the Winter Blues?

Comments

  1. Amy Orvin says:

    I can’t believe it’s been so warm this winter. I feel like we only had a few cold days here in SC. Thank you for sharing this post. I didn’t know dark chocolate was good for you.

  2. Nicole Sender says:

    Thanks for your informative post. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is of concern in the Pacific Northwest!

  3. Karen Glatt says:

    I have started taking really good omega 3 fatty acids and eating salmon and I believe it really helps me with winter blues. I know I have had the winter blues in January, but it has warmed up where I am at and I have gotten some sunshine and I tell you it makes me feel so much better!

  4. Usually by this time of the year, SAD really is bad for me, but I think the crazy ups and downs of the weather have helped me–or I’m just too busy! I do take omega 3s and snack on dark chocolate chips. I think exercise really helps me the most!

  5. I have seasonal depression so I have a happy light. I sit under it when I start feeling sad.

  6. I didn’t know about B12 and how getting it will help prevent depression. I am definitely going to eat more yogurt. That’s great about dark chocolate too. Now I need to start liking it, always preferred milk chocolate more. This was pretty helpful information. Thanks for posting this.

  7. I will gladly eat more dark chocolate in the winter 🙂

  8. Kristie says:

    Easing winter blues can be difficult but chocolate can always help! I am going to try to clean which can help my mental state and exercise can help physically! kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

  9. Allyson Becker says:

    Wish I had seen this earlier. Love that winter is just about over!

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