Do you feel like you have less energy during the winter months accompanied
by a feeling of depression?
Then you may be suffering from winter blues. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people
in the UK suffer from the winter blues. The good news is that simple changes
made through diet, supplements and lifestyle could really make the difference
to how you feel.
As the days get colder, our bodies tend to crave food that gives our bodies
a sense of warmth. However it is important that we choose nutritious wholesome
food which support and boost our immune system, and at the same time provide
us with mood boosting nutrients.
We should aim to eat sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, and garlic. These are
high in vitamin A and C which will help build the immune system and ward off
illness. Garlics antiviral and antifungal properties makes it a valuable winter
essential to ward off colds and keep the immune system alert.
Oats and quinoa are warming grains that can be a very good addition to out winter
meals. Pulses that are good are beans, lentils and adzuki, which are low in
fat, high in protein, complex carbohydrate and fibrous, containing a wide array
of nutrients. They can be added to any soup to create some bulk and give you
a more filling feeling. Nutrient-rich whole foods such as apples, pears, berries
and vegetables, are all required to boost our immune system.
Mood boosting foods:
To improve mood we need to look at foods that increase levels of serotonin,
the brains happy neurotransmitter. A protein called tryptophan is converted
in the body to serotonin, so we need to increase our intake of foods rich in
tryptophan. This can be found in foods such as fish, turkey, chicken, cottage
cheese, avocadoes and bananas. Also, eating foods rich in omega 3 essential
fatty acids (found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, and also
in seeds) is thought to stave off depression as it acts on serotonin function
in the brain.
Less exposure to sunlight causes brain levels of serotonin - the happy transmitter
- to fall, as natural light stimulates the production of serotonin.
Therefore try to wake up at a time where you can see natural light, and that
will help to stimulate the natural production of serotonin from the brain, giving
a natural mood boosting feeling.
Things to Avoid
- Try to avoid eating too much dairy produce as they are mucous forming and
wont help if you are prone to colds or chesty coughs.
- Try to reduce your refined salt and caffeine intake. This is good advice at
any time of the year and even more so during the winter when your lymphatic,
immune systems and liver are busy trying to keep you healthy.
- Try to avoid refined foods. These will have almost none of the nutrients that
fresh foods have and could actually be more difficult for your body to deal
- Try to avoid alcohol. It can deprive you of essential immune boosting nutrients
which are much needed at this time.
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