Foods for Curing the Winter Blues

Alas, fall weather is finally starting to make her appearance, bringing with her nights of bonfires, cozy sweaters, and reasonable excuses to stay indoors for a Netflix binge. But as is with life, the good is often accompanied with…the not so good.

The most common weather-induced consequence is the so-called ‘winter blues’ phenomenon, clinically referred to as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). According to the Mayo Clinic, these ‘down’ emotions that come in the colder weather are a result of decreased sunlight which disrupts our body clock, making some people’s serotonin levels decline below normal. Drops in the brain’s level of this vital neurotransmitter often results in the feelings of depression experienced, especially as the seasons change (mayoclinic.org).  However, no diagnosis is needed to halt the winter blues in their tracks with nature’s own holistic remedy: food. The replenishment of the right vitamins and minerals can help soothe the winter blues and as is as easy as making the right food choices. Check out what you need and where to get it in our tips below!

Nutrient: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Benefits: promote the development of serotonin and dopamine (the ‘happy’ neurotransmitters)

Food Suggestions: Salmon, Seeds (Flax, Hemp, Chia), Sardines, Walnuts

 

Nutrient: Vitamin D (aka the sunshine vitamin)

Benefits: help regulate mood, assisting with the absorption of vital nutrients affecting your bones and immune system

Food Suggestions: Eggs, Sardines

 

Nutrient: Folate

Benefits: helps produce serotonin

Food Suggestions: Citrus Fruits (Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Grapefruits), Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Collards, Mustard Greens, Spinach), Lentils, Cauliflower

 

Nutrient: Magnesium

Benefits: reduces anxiousness

Food Suggestions: Dark Leafy Greens, Almonds

 

Nutrient: Zinc

Benefits: Reduces Anxiousness

Food Suggestions: Pumpkin Seeds

 

Nutrient: Vitamin B12

Benefits: low levels have been associated with increased rates of depression

Food Suggestions: lean beef, cottage cheese, milk

 

Rules of thumb:

  • Check with your doctor before making major changes to your diet!
  • Limit your sugar intake
  • Don’t underestimate the benefits of socialization
  • Prioritize exercise at least 3X a week

Information received from: Livestrong.com and Healthline.com

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