Emotional resilience can be tough during these colder months. Waking up day after day to gloomy weather takes a toll after awhile. The medical term for “winter blues” is seasonal affective disorder [SAD]. NHS.com says “According to Alison Kerry, from the mental health charity mind, ‘It’s thought that SAD sufferers are affected by shorter daylight hours in the winter. They produce higher melatonin, causing lethargy and symptoms of depression.’ If you’re going through a bout of winter blues, lack of daylight is probably playing a part.” Paying attention to the foods you put in your body this season can play a big part in your mood, stress and outlook on life. Below we list foods that can help you beat the winter blues this season. Grab your reusable totes, the store is calling!
Walnuts are an extremely concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids. Demonstrated through various research studies, it has been proved that the O3F acids in walnuts fight depression symptoms and promote brain function. Throw some walnuts in a baggie when you’re on the run, into your morning yogurt bowl or anytime you’re feeling like a nutty-pick-me-up!
Winter blues are a byproduct of elevated levels of inflammation in the body. Berries fight this with their concentrated amount of polyphenolic. According to research in Canada, “Polyphenolic antioxidants are considered premier disease fighters that protect the body against free radicals or unstable molecules that cause cell damage leading to chronic and degenerative diseases.” Add some extra berries in your morning smoothie and watch your vibe come alive!
Adding healthy proteins to your diet can be a great step in beating the winter blues. Beans are the perfect source of this. WedMD say, “Protein rich foods boosts alertness. Try to eat something with protein several times a day, especially when you need to clear your mind and boost your energy.” Try some black beans in your burrito bowl, make a new white bean chili recipe or just add some kidney beans into your diet. There are many ways to prepare and enjoy beans, especially for some yummy comfort food during winter.
Seeds are a great addition to your diet to beat winter blues as they are highly rich in antioxidants. Science Direct states, “…Depression is accompanied by significantly lower serum vitamin E concentrations, suggesting lower antioxidant defenses against lipid peroxidation.” Seeds are a particularly great source of Vitamin E. Toss some sunflower seeds on your salad, chia seeds in your parfait or some pumpkin seeds as a afternoon snack. Beneficial and delicious!
Look to broccoli, spinach and collard greens this winter to get your beta-carotene. Research studies from Nutrition Express concluded, “People with the highest circulating levels of antioxidant carotenoids were 37 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms. There was also a direct link: as carotenoid levels increased, signs of depression decreased.” These dark greens keep your body at its best to fight any attack because they contain super high level of vitamins. Sauteed, grilled or roasted… find a way to get those greens!
While your diet isn’t a cure-all for winter blues, it certainly is the single best way to fight your way through this winter if you are feeling down. Stock up on the above foods, find your favorite ways to prepare them and stick to it. They could ease your symptoms and get you in a better mood! All while being a delicious treat! Win, win!
Are you Team Nuts or Team Seeds? Tell me in the comments!