Eat healthy, feel great, be happy!
Winter means shorter days, cooler weather, and for many people, seasonal depression. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is thought to be from changes in brain chemicals triggered by less light and more darkness. Fortunately, there are some healthy (and tasty) foods that can give us a natural mood boost during the cold season. Check them out, try them and get all jolly for the winter Holidays.
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies)
It has two omega-3 fatty acids found almost exclusively in fish – DHA and EPA. Studies have suggested that EPA supplements had an equivalent effect to taking an antidepressant medication.
- Vitamin-D rich foods (salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, fortified dairy products, eggs, fish oil supplements)
Vitamin D plays an important role in brain health and neuron functioning.
- Less processed foods
Fried and processed foods, as well as foods made with refined grains and added sugars, hurt not only your waistline but also your mood. Focus on: vegetables, beans, whole grains, unsaturated oils, nuts, fish; minimally processed versions like nut butters, canned beans, and frozen unsweetened berries.
- Dark chocolate (1-ounce per day or a few times per week)
Eating dark chocolate improves mood and decreases stress. Flavonoids in the cocoa plant are responsible for increasing blood flow in the brain, as well as having a protective and anti-inflammatory effect on neurons.
- Probiotics (yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, and other fermented foods and foods with active live cultures)
Studies have suggested that repopulating your good gut bacteria may actually be associated with improvements in depression and anxiety.
- Low-glycemic carbs (sweet potatoes, whole grains, beans, fruit, and low-fat dairy)
The digestion of carbohydrates stimulates the production of serotonin (the neurotransmitter that regulates mood and is the target of many antidepressant drugs).