As we approach the dark cold winter months, our mood can turn grey like the gloomy icy weather outside (unless you live in a warm climate all year round). During the colder seasons, we tend to stay inside and become less active while the freezing weather keeps the sun away. Our bodies start to feel sluggish, lethargic and some people can even experience depression. We all know and understand how easy it is to stay at home and be cozy on the couch, but have no fear! We can help with that.
Did you know you can overcome the winter blues by staying active? Exercise or any form of physical activity is extremely important for our body, mindset, and overall health. It can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, release endorphins that improve our mood, build up our self-esteem, relieve stress and improve sleep habits. Find activities you enjoy and keep you warm!
In terms of food – what we eat can also help scare away the winter blues. There is a link and relationship between our brain and stomach, and how they communicate affect our mood. Complex carbohydrates are a tasty base for a warm and nutritious meal. Whole grains and legumes are high in fiber to maintain digestive health and produce the neurotransmitter serotonin that helps maintain mood balance. So if you’re craving carbs during these dark months, there may be a reason! Eating foods high in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids keep our brain healthy and reduce inflammation in the body. Top your whole grains with salmon, beans, avocado, or eggs for a serving of protein and omega fatty acids. As always, we also want to make sure to consume plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. The vitamins, minerals, and fiber in fruits and veggies also benefit our digestive tract and reduce inflammation. They are usually rich in magnesium, which helps fight anxiety and depression by producing and supporting serotonin.
Unless we have a sunny vacation planned, vitamin D is another important vitamin to include in our daily diet. Low vitamin D has been linked to an increase in depression and seasonal affective disorder. Foods like milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, and dark greens are high in vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D are good friends – increasing calcium while also increasing vitamin D can optimize vitamin D absorption.
Use these tips, tricks, and dietary recommendations to improve your mood and beat those winter blues!