Do the winter blues have you down? Many people do and tend to eat more calories during these months, as a result of turning to comfort food. There are better and healthier ways to turn those frowns upside down however. Comfort food may be a very short-term solution to some mild winter blues, but picking the right foods may have longer lasting results.
Eating foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fish can short-circuit the junk food cravings and have higher energy levels and sharper mental focus. Eating certain foods may not cure those winter blues per se, but certain foods can give you a mood boost, plus and an overall healthy diet may help prevent weight gain.
Here are my top foods to chase the winter blues away:
Including probiotics daily may be easier than you think. If you’re interested in adding them to your routine, make sure your yogurt says that it contains “live and active” yogurt cultures, as most do. Regardless of their probiotic qualities, low-fat dairy products can be part of a healthy diet. Other items that naturally contain probiotics include kombucha, miso soup, pickles, tempeh and sauerkraut. Over time, you may find that your gut and your brain feel a difference.
Walnuts and Fatty Fish
When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, no food source is better than fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, bluefish and salmon. These fats have specific brain-boosting properties to fight depression, and as an added bonus they improve circulation and reduce inflammation and your overall risk of heart disease. If you are vegetarian or vegan reach for the walnuts, because they are the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
High-fiber carbohydrates found in whole grains can leave you feeling and do your body good at the same time. Whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and whole-wheat pasta are all good choices since they assist the body with release of serotonin, the so-called “feel good” hormone.
Green tea is rich in the amino acid, theanine. This amino acid naturally found in tealeaves provides an anti-stress relaxation benefit to drinkers. Plus, green tea gives a boost of relaxed alertness rather than the boost of tension or anxiety that coffee drinkers report.
Turmeric is a bold spice that has been touted for its many health benefits. If you’re feeling down, this bold spice found in many Indian and Asian curry dishes can help boost your mood. It’s loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and contains the active compounds turmerones and curcuminods, which also provide a wide variety of other health benefits.
By picking a few of these foods each day, winter will no longer seem so ho-hum with increased energy levels, sharper mental focus, reduced junk food cravings and more “feel-good” hormones floating in your bloodstream.
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