What do you think of when people say winter? Skiing, hot chocolate, twinkling snowflakes? That’s sounds lovely, right? But in reality, winter in the Northern Hemisphere can be dark and dreary, bitterly cold and outright miserable. And it can really take a toll on your body and mind. If you’re like me, the short days and never-ending darkness can make it hard for you to function. So here are my suggestions on how to eat to beat those winter blues!
- Vitamin D – we usually get this from the sun, but this time of year we don’t really see much of those warm, golden rays. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin, but did you know it increases your immunity and can decrease depression? You’ll find it in egg yolks & fatty fish, but if you’re not a meat eater than your best bet is a supplement until you can get back out and catch some rays.
- Omega 3 – these essential fatty acids are great for your overall health, but they’ve been shown to reduce inflammation and they can also help to reduce depression and depression symptoms. The usual sources are fish like wild salmon, sardines and anchovies. But there are also lots of other non-fish sources. Nuts & seeds, especially walnuts, flax, chia and hemp are great sources of omega-3. And what about spinach? Yup, it’s high in omega-3 too!
- B Vitamins - all the B Vitamins are extremely important to your everyday functioning. They support neurological health and many of them even help to manufacture Serotonin (it’s responsible for mood balance). The B’s also help promote white blood cell production. B12 plays a key role in normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. Unfortunately it’s only found in meat, dairy or eggs. So if you don’t eat a lot of those foods or are vegan/vegetarian you will want to make sure to get some extra B12 with a supplement.
- Vitamin C – everyone know vitamin C is good for your immune system, but did you know it’s high in anti-oxidants and can help increase energy and lower anxiety? Citrus has always been the go-to for extra vitamin C but there are other awesome sources too. Leafy greens, parsley, broccoli and cauliflower are all great sources of this vitamin.
- Magnesium – not many people think about Mg when they think about their diet or mood. Magnesium is importation for reducing stress and depression and also boosting immunity. Again, you can find this essential nutrient in leafy greens, fish and nuts.
As you can see, there’s a lot of overlap in nutrients in some key foods which means you don’t have to go buy a bunch of weird food. So if you’re looking to help boost your mood (and immunity) make sure to eat lots of these power house foods: leafy greens, fish and nuts! And whenever possible, look for organic fruits, veggies and meats and raw, unsalted nuts to get the most nutrients from your food.