This is the time of year when days begin to feel shorter and shorter. We see the sun much less, and when we do, it’s often fighting a battle of gloominess with an impending cold front.
This gloominess hits us all pretty hard. In fact, if you’ve ever believed that you had a case of the Winter Blues, this is what we’re talking about. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is no laughing matter because these dark-gray-rainy days have a huge impact on your mood and energy level. The good news is that we can all partially escape this mental zapping.
By now it’s common sense to us all that our bodies are fueled by what we put in it. While most of us often think of this as it pertain to our physical traits or appearance, it’s important to know that there is a connection with food when it comes to boosting your mood. If you’ve been feeling blue lately or if you are expecting an annual visit from the Winter Blues, here are seven food groups that might actually help boost your body and your mind:
1. Eat Your Greens and Your Grains
The University of Kuopio in Finland conducted a study with 2,313 men for more than 10 years and they found that leafy greens and fortified cereals are good for your brain.
2. Vitamin B 12 Should Not Be Ignored
The study of the University of Kuopio also showed that dairy, shellfish and eggs can help your mood.
3. Increase Your Intake of Folate
The same Finnish study found that increasing your intake of lentils, spinach, berries oranges and avocados will have a positive effect on your mood.
4. Orange Is a Great Color
Orange vegetables are high in beta carotene and they are not only highly recommended to maintain proper eye sight, but they are excellent for your brain.
5. Drink Tea
Nothing is more soothing that a cup of tea during the colder months of the year. Another study from Finland shows that 2,000 surveyed Finns who drank tea every day reported less incidences of feeling down or depressed compared to Finns who weren’t regular tea drinkers. The study also shows that the theanine naturally found in tea helps calm you down.
6. Vitamin D
They don’t call it the “sunshine vitamin” for nothing. Most people living in parts of the world that has winter are deficient in vitamin D. In fact, Dr. Mehmet Oz declared that 100 million Americans were deficient in D in a recent episode on his new TV show “Dr. Oz” (think about it, that’s about 1/3 of the American population)!
A 2008 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed there is a direct link between deficiency of vitamin D and depression. Milk and milk products are the obvious source of vitamin D, but if you are lactose intolerant that won’t help you. Some people simply don’t like the taste of milk and milk products and that’s where a daily supplement ofvitamin D comes in so handy. If you can afford it, choose a liquid vitamin D which is immediately absorbed into the body!
7. Fish Is Good for Your Mood
If you don’t like fish, don’t worry, omega-3 might become of the best supplements you can take to enhance your mood. The University of Arizona’s scientific review concluded that omega-3 fatty acids eicosapenta-enoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna helped people with major depression and people who suffered from bipolar depression. The study is so compelling that the American Psychiatry Association endorsed the review and now recommends that adults eat fish twice a week and that people with mental health issues consume at least one gram of omega-3 a day to help with their disorder.
If you’re feeling blue and you’re having problem shaking it off, you might want to consult a doctor, nutritionist or naturopathic doctor to find out how to incorporate these mood-enhancing foods.