Beating the winter blues can be accomplished. All you need is the right diet and attitude. Turn the tables from SAD to happy then by incorporating a healthy choice of foods in your daily menu plans. Get rid of the junk and processed foods and the doughnuts from the bakery, and substitute the items with fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, nuts and legumes, and dairy.
Your Diet Can Influence How you Feel Both Physically and Psychologically
The winter blues, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), impacts a fairly large segment of the population each winter. In fact, studies suggest that five out of every 100 people are affected each year. In some cases, the sufferers will even feel suicidal. Therefore, winter depression should, indeed, be taken seriously, particularly from a nutritional standpoint. The foods you choose to consume can decidedly have an impact on how you feel both physically and psychologically.
Foods Rich in Antioxidants are Good for Brain Health
To reduce free radical destruction, especially with respect to brain health and functioning, health and wellness experts suggest that SAD sufferers eat a diet rich in antioxidants, namely beta-carotene and vitamins C and E. Foods containing beta-carotene include:
- Sweet Potatoes
Foods rich in vitamin C make up the following:
- Citrus, such as grapefruit and oranges
Vitamin E can be found in such foods as:
- Wheat Germ
How Protein Helps People Beat the Winter Blues
Protein and carbohydrates work together to increase alertness and reduce feelings of anxiety or irritability too. That’s because protein-rich foods are a good source of the amino acid tyrosine, which is helpful in increasing the levels of such neurotransmitters as norepinephrine and dopamine in the body, both which will increase your ability to concentrate and improve your general mood.
Protein foods you want to include in your diet to fight the winter blues include:
- Lean beef
Carbohydrates that Alleviate Winter Depression
Certain carbohydrates, as well, are useful for reducing the symptoms of SAD. Foods in this group include:
- Vegetables and fruits
- Whole grains
B Vitamins that Help Chase away the Winter Blues
With respect to vitamins, folate and B-12 have been shown to be instrumental in reducing the symptoms of SAD. Foods high in folate (folic acid, in the synthetic form) are represented by a number of healthful choices, but especially by leafy greens, namely collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, and mustard greens. Liver is a good source of vitamin B-12 as is mackerel, herring, salmon, and tuna. Fat-trimmed chuck beef is also an excellent source of the vitamin.
Vitamin D – Another Way to Treat Winter Depression
Because vitamin D is manufactured by exposure to the sun, seasonal affective disorder can be effectively treated by including foods in one’s diet with this nutrient. Good food sources that contain vitamin D include:
- Salmon and tuna
- Fortified cereals
- Beef liver
Selenium – Still yet Another Option for Treating the Winter Blues
Selenium is a mineral and nutrient that also enhances one’s mood, and can be found in a variety of healthful foods, including:
- Seafood (sardines, freshwater fish, and saltwater fish)
- Lean meat (pork, beef, turkey and chicken without the skin)
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
Omega-3 – An Essential Fat that is Good for your Health and Disposition
In addition, studies from different sources show that people who don’t include omega-3 fatty acids in their diet suffer more from depression than those individuals who eat food rich in the substance. Therefore, the best omega-3 food sources include:
- Seafood, such as mackerel, anchovies, sardines, salmon, and tuna; and
- Nuts and flaxseed.
You can also obtain help for your winter depression by eating foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is another kind of omega-3. These foods include dark leafy green vegetables, walnuts, and flaxseed.
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